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Harvard College 


Mary Osgood 





vol. n. 









1880— 1888 









All rights reserved 






Belfast, February 23, 1886. 

Proposed Repeal of the Union — The Results of Mr. Gladstone's Irish Policy 
—Responsibilities and Duties of the Irish Loyalists — Extension of 
the Franchise in Ireland, and its Effects— The great Want of Ireland — 
Evils produced by the National League — A Parnellite Ministry — 
Appeal to the Loyal Catholics — Sympathy of the English People for 
the Loyal Party in Ireland 1 

Manchester, March 3, 1886. 

Critical Negotiations with Russia under Mr. Gladstone's Administration — 

Opening of a New Market for British Industries — Tibet and 

Burmah-Lord Ripon's Viceroyalty — The Unemployed in England — 

t Rule Britannia ' — Old Party Differences — Proposal to Independent 

JLiberals— First Suggestion of the * Union Party ' . . . .16 

House of Commons, April 12, 1886. 

Review of Mr. Gladstone's Scheme — Essentially a Policy of Repeal — The 
Visionary * Safeguards' — Proposed Constitution of the New Irish 
Parliament — Financial Arrangements under the Bill — * Not Re- 
peal ! '—Treatment of Ulster— The Parnellite Party— Threats of 
Dynamite — Mr. Gladstone's former Predictions and Failures — Certain 
Results of the Scheme if adopted 25 



Paddinoton, June 26, 1886. 

Dissolution of Parliament after the Rejection of the Home Rule Bill — 
The Question before the Electors — A Delusive Issue presented by 
Mr. Gladstone — What are ' Irish Affairs ' ? — No Middle Class in 
Ireland — State of the Country before the Union — Can Ireland be 
governed by a Celtic Parliament ? — Why the Union was carried — The 

* Unbridgeable Chasm ' — Mr. Gladstone's Demand — The Union not 
a Failure— « Justice to Ireland '—The Policy of « Scuttle '—The 
'Almighty Dollar' in British Politics — The Forces opposed to 

Housk op Commons, August 19, 1886. 

Lord Salisbury's Second Administration — Burmah — Material Change in 
the Irish Question — Social Order— Local Government— Crime in 
Kerry — Appointment of Sir Redvers Buller — Working of the Land 
Act — Lord Cowpers Commission — Irish Fisheries and Railways — 

• Simultaneity ' in Local Government— Position of the Cabinet in 

Dartford, October 2, 1886. 

Policy of Lord Salisbury's Second Government— Kent a Tory Strong- 
hold— Mr. Gladstones * Whole Civilised World '—Politics Not a 
Science of the Past — Large Majorities for Government in the New 
Parliament— The Royal Commissions — The • Union of the Unionist 
Party ' — Future Legislation : Small Holdings, Tithes, Railway 
Rates — Reform in Local Government — The New Bill foreshadowed — 
Retrenchment and Reform in the Public Departments— Condition 
of Trade — Two Dark Clouds : Ireland and Foreign Affairs — The 
Bulgarian Difficulty— General Scope of Foreign Policy . 

Bradford, October 26, 1886. 

Attacks on the Dartford Speech — Payment of Rent in Ireland — Pledges 
given for Maintenance of Order — Dislocation of the Gladstonian 
Party— Comparison between the Unionists and Gladstonians— Local 




'Government for Ireland— To be based on Plan of Local Government 
for England— Parliamentary Procedure— Reforms Indispensable- 
Work before the Conservative Party 87 

House of Commons, Januaey 27, 1887. 

Reasons for Resignation— The Estimates and * Other Matters of Grave 
Importance ' — Supplementary Estimates— Increase of 6,000,000/. in 
the Military and Naval Expenditure— No Demand for Large Re- 
duction — Opposition made to Economy and Reform— Questions of 
Foreign Policy — Departmental Scandals — Not a Sudden Resigna- 
/ t ion— Ministry could not have been Taken by Surprise — Repeated 
Statements to Colleagues — Driven ' into a Corner ' — Lord Salisbury's 
Immovable Attitude — Repeatedly Pledged to Economy and Reform — 
Correspondence with the Prime Minister— No Opportunity given for 
Discussion in the Cabinet — Other Allusions to Foreign Policy in 
1886 104 

House of Commons, Januaby 31, 1887. 

Where the Battle of the Union must be fought out — The only Safe 
Course— A Warning — * Precarious Parliamentary Alliances ' — * The 
Crutch '—Tory Party must Maintain the Union — The 'Round Table* 
Conferences— Mr. Chamberlain's Dubious Negotiation — The Dart- 
ford Programme carried out by the Ministry — Financial Reforms- 
Indications of Change in the Prime Minister's Opinions — How Dis- 
cussions on the Estimates are Managed— Two Suggestions — The 
Coaling Stations— Did not Resign upon that Question— Tactics of 
the Prime Minister— Expenditure and Increased Taxation— Previous 
Contests with the Tory/Party — Issue submitted to the People . .117 

Paddington, April 2, 1887. 

Responsibilities as Chancellor of the Exchequer— Could not Evade them — 
State of Affairs in the War Office and the Admiralty— Never Aimed 
at a • Popular Budget -■ Is Determined to Secure Departmental 
Reform— Immediate Result of the Resignation— Saving of 1,400,000/. 
Why not effected before the Resignation ?— The Union Party not 
endangered— Two Methods of Maintaining the Union — A Retro- 

- % spect of 1880— The Election of 1885- Pending Legislation— The 

Struggle in Ireland not Ended 128 


Birmingham, April 14, 1887. 

Parliamentary Obstruction — Position of the Conservative Party in 1886 — 
What were the Conservatives Pledged to ? — The Maintenance of the 
Union — Movement to Weaken the Authority of the Speaker— Object 
of the New Agitation — Necessity of ' Holding on and Plodding on ' — 
^ ^1 The Question before the English Democracy — Their great Responsi- 
] bilities — The Practical Side of the Irish Question— Full Freedom of 
the Irish People— Two Antagonistic Positions — The only safe Solu- 
tion of the Difficulty 1 

Nottingham, April 19, 1887. 

The Unionist Party in Nottingham — Rebellion in Ireland — The Irish 
Parliament Merged, not Extinguished — The Fenian Movement of 
1866— Extension of the Irish Franchise in 1884— Mr. Gladstone's 
Position — Should the Union Party Fail ? — Moral of the American 
Civil War 

House op Commons, April 21, 1887. 

State of the National Finances— Increase of 3,000,000/. in the Cost of 
Army and Navy since 1883 — No Explanation given by Mr. Goschen — 
Suspension of the Sinking Fund — Objections to that Course . . 1 

House of Commons, April 26, 1887. 

Questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer — Mr. Goschen's Views in 
1885 — How Reconcilable with Suspension of the Sinking Fund? — 
Suspending Payment of Debt is not Economy — An Evil Precedent — 
A Golden Opportunity Lost 1 

Wolverhampton, June 3, 1887. 

How does the Money Go ?— Expenditure on the Army and Navy— Com- 
parison between 1875 and 1887 — The German Army — State of Our 
Own Forces — The House of Commons not to Blame— A Hojjelessly 



Bad System — The English Fleet at Alexandria— No Shells, no Am- 
munition — Blundering of the Ordnance Department — The 110-ton 
Gun — Cost, 20,000/. each — Affairs at the Admiralty — Armour-clad 
Ships with Armour under Water— The • Belted Cruisers '— 10,000,000*. 
Misapplied— From 5,000,000Z. to 7,000,000*. a year for Pensions— 
* Reorganisation * at the Admiralty — Clerks at the Admiralty and 
War Office— Salaries of from 800/. to 1,200/. a year— Pleasant Con- 
tracts — Increase of Cost, without Additional Charges for Labour or 
Machinery — The ' Official Ring ' — The Deception about the Coaling 
Stations — Opposition to Retrenchment — Difficulty of getting even 
an Inquiry — What will the People do about it ? — Sweeping Reform 
necessary at the Admiralty and War Office — True and False 
Finance — Encroaching upon the Sinking Fund — * Don't get into 
Debt ' — Great Opportunity of the Tory Party— A Warning . .178 

House op Commons, July 18, 1887. 

General Increase of Expenditure — Home and Foreign Dockyards — 
Admiralty Administration condemned by official Reports — Larger 
Cost of Ships built in Dockyards than by private Contract — Estimated 
Cost largely exceeded — Delusion of Parliamentary Control — Increase 
of Salaries — Sheerness Dockyard — Depots in North America — System 
of Education in the Navy — Large Sums spent in Repairs of Ships . 202 

Whitby, September 23, 1887. 

Public Opinion in Favour of Retrenchment and Reform — The only true 
Economy — How Efficiency might be secured — The Pension List — A 
Democratic Parliament — A Lesson for Permanent Officials . .217 

Sunderland, October 20, 1887. 

Mr. Gladstone's Speeches in the Autumn of 1887 — ' One Man, one Vote ' — 
The System of Registration— Reform of the Land Laws — Entailed 
Estates — Interference in Matters of Contract — The Cry for Protec- 
tion—The Liquor Laws — The Sale of Drink — 'Eight per Cent.' — 
The Question of Compensation — Waste of Money in Drink — Evil 
Effects upon the People— Temperance would promote the national 
Welfare — The Question of Disestablishment — Mr. Gladstone's un- 
certain Policy— Work of the EngHslTChurch — Danger of destroying it 
— Mr. Gladstone silent on the E^ofomical Question — Free Education 
and Voluntary Schools — The Hfuj^i Question — Laying 'Traps' — 
Judgment of the • Old Pilot ' — A^emand for a plain Statement of 
what is meant by * Home Rule ' 222 


Newcastle, October 22, 1887. 


Tories and « Coercion '—Two things the Tory Government of 1885 could 
not have foreseen— Power of the National League — No precipitate 
Return to Coercion — The • Plan of Campaign ' — No-Rent Manifesto — 
The Land League and the National League the same Body — Mr. 
Michael Davitt — Administration of the Law in Ireland— Freedom 
of Speech — The Police in London — Unjust Attacks upon them — 
Mr. Gladstone's Alliance with the Liberal Party — England not 
— beyond reach of Danger and Decay — What might happen — A 

\j Warning 242 

Stockton, October 24, 1887. 

Attack on the Integrity of the Empire — Attempts to Preserve Public 
Order— How Disorder was quelled in New York — Riotous Crowds in 
London — Mr. Gladstone's Discouragement of Police Action — British 
•*>— Trade — Review of the Free-Trade r. Fair- Trade Controversy . . 255 

Stockport, December 16, 1887. 

Progress of the Union Party in 1887 — Reasons for Congratulation — Posi- 
tion of the National League — * Blanc-mange ' — Mr. Gladstone's Asser- 
tions as to the State of Ireland — Approach of a Critical Session — 
Saving in Expenditure— The War Office— Importance of sound 
Finance— The Flag of Repeal 269 

Oxford Union, February 22, 1888. 

The Question stated — Mr. Gladstone's Condemnation of Mr. Pitt — Suc- 
cessive Irish Agitations — What is meant by the • just Aspirations ' 
of the Irish People ? — The Minority in Ireland— What is a Statutory 
Parliament ? — Dr. Ball quoted— Wolfe Tone's Opinion of Grattan's 
Parliament— The Birth of Home Rule in its present Form— Mr. Butt 
and his Motion — Lord Hartington's Reply —A singular Prophecy — 
Mr. Gladstone's Conversion — Reasons which probably influenced 
him — Misled by delusive Reports about Conservative Surrender — 
What are the Chances of Repeal being carried? — Dissensions in 
the Repeal Party — When Parnellite 'Home Rule' is likely to be 
granted 280 


House op Commons, Mabch 8, 1888. 


Strength of the ' Services ' in the House of Commons — Present System 
of Military Organisation — Some partial Reforms — Where is the 

* Financial Control ' ?— Lord Wolseley's Evidence— How the Prussian 
Army works— Lord Wolseley on Waste of Labour, bad Tools, &c. — 
No Transport System — Guns and Gunpowder — Cost of the German 
Army— Want of Cavalry Horses— The Magazine Rifle — Confusion 

of Rifles and Ammunition 302 

Birmingham, April 9, 1888. 

--Disadvantage of a Government being too strong— Happy Mixture of 
Loyalty and Independence — The new Tory Party — A truly Repre- 
sentative Parliament — The State of Ireland — Danger of relying too 
much on a Coercion Policy — Remedial Legislation for Ireland 

necessary — The English Local Government Bill — County Councils— 

^ Position of the Licensed Victuallers — The Tory Democracy . . 320 

House of Commons, April 25, 1888. 

The Question of Local Government for Ireland — Opinion of Lord Salis- 
bury's Government in 1886 — A written Declaration laid before the 
House of Commons— The Liberal Unionists Concur — Distinct 
Pledges given for Reform — Probable Consequence of indefinite 
Postponement— Unfulfilled Promises— Why Repeal was defeated at 
the Polls— Watchful Attitude of the English People . . . 332 

Preston, May 16, 1888. 

Influence of Lancashire on Public Opinion — The Mainspring of the 
Tory Party in England — Change in Situation of the Party— State of 
Ireland in 1880 and 1888 compared— The Vatican Decree on the 

* Plan of Campaign ' — The Errington Mission— Irish Local Govern- 
ment — Should be Reformed — Repeated Pledges given to that 
Effect— Forgotten by many who gave them— A Section of the Tory 
Party greatly incensed — Ploughing with borrowed Oxen — Effect of 
the Crimes Act — A Policy of Generosity now needed — Departmental 
Reform— Not making substantial Progress — Tendency to multiply 
Offices— Proposed Minister of Agriculture — Army and Navy Expen- 
diture—Bad System, and no Remedies attempted— Further Expen- 
diture useless without Reform 338 


Paddinoton, November 17, 1888. 


Foreign Policy — Delay in sending a new Minister to Washington— Im- 
portance of preserving friendly Relations with the United States— 
The Fisheries Question — Recent Discussion on the Law Courts in 
the House of Commons— State of the Army and Navy— Social Ques- 
tions—' 8anitas Sanitatum * — The Drink Problem — Drunkenness 
)the Curse of the Nation — Overcrowding in our great Towns — The 
Sweating System — Laws of Health — The only true Source of Popu- 
larity 362 

House of Commons, December 2, 4, & 17, 1888. 

The English at 8uakim— Financial Aspect of the Question— The • Kill 
and Retire ' Policy— Previous Events at Suakim— Folly of running 
unnecessary Risks — Enough Lives already lost in the Soudan — What 
is the Policy of England ? — Fight and go away—' A silly and stupid 
Policy'— A final Protest against it 374 




Belfast, February 23, 1886. 

[Lord Randolph Churchill was the first of the leaders of the 
1 Unionist Party ' — the name, as a subsequent speech will show, 
which he himself gave to the opponents of Mr. Gladstone's Repeal 
schemes — who visited Ulster. Many things were said in this speech 
which did not give unalloyed satisfaction to either party, chiefly 
because they happened to be true.] 

I HAVE accepted the invitation of a gentleman who enjoys 
your confidence to come over to Belfast to confer with 
you at a crisis big with fate to you and yours ; and I am more 
anxious to ascertain how you propose to face and deal with 
the crisis, than to endeavour to dictate to you any special 
political action. There can be no doubt that the policy towards 
Ireland denoted by Mr. Gladstone's accession to office, by the 
Hawarden Manifesto, by the nomination of Mr. John Morley 
to the most responsible post in the Irish Government, by the 
refusal of Lord Hartington to join Mr. Gladstone's Govern- 
ment — there can be no doubt that the policy indicated by all 
these facts is one which involves, more or less, and probably 
more than less, the Repeal of the legislative Union. The Tory 
party in England are determined to offer to any such policy, or 


anything in the nature of such a policy, the most determined 
resistance ; and no doubt in that resistance we shall have the 
sympathy of many persons of position in the Liberal ranks. But, 
my lords and gentlemen, it is essential for us to know to what 
extent — do not be vexed with me for saying this — we can 
count on support of this resolution from Ireland. I have 
only come here as an Englishman to place before you as best I 
can what public opinion is in England ; and, therefore, be not 
impatient with me when I say that a good deal of uncertainty 
on this point exists in England ; and I think it is not unnatural 
that there should be a good deal of ignorance in the public 
mind of England as to the powers of resistance to the policy 
of Repeal which the Loyalists of Ireland might offer, because we 
have fancied for some years that the power of the Loyalists in 
Ireland would seem to have been on the wane. Let us calmly 
examine into recent history. We shall find things a Uttle 
changed since the days of 1848, when the Government in 
Dublin, knowing who its best friends were, and being alarmed 
for the safety of Ireland, served out arms to the Loyalists of the 
North. Things are changed since those days, and the change 
took place with Mr. Gladstone's accession to office in 1869. All 
Mr. Gladstone's policy has been directed, from that time to the 
present day, to the strengthening of the party of Repeal and 
to the weakening of the party of the Union in Ireland. In 
1869 Mr. Gladstone made his first attack on what he called the 
upas-tree of Loyalist ascendancy by the disestablishment of the 
Church of Ireland; and whatever else may be urged in support 
of that policy, there can be no doubt that in the disestablish- 
ment of the Church of Ireland one of the chief bulwarks of the 
Union was sacrificed. No doubt there was a sharp fight over 
the Act of Disestablishment, but the result was acquiesced in 
by the Loyalists of Ireland with unexpected resignation. The 
next step of Mr. Gladstone's policy was to break the power of 
the Irish landlords. The Irish landlords are the natural 
leaders of the Loyalists in Ireland. But by Mr. Gladstone's 
policy the power of the Irish landlords was greatly broken. 
Another link in the same chain was the poHcy of giving over 
the practical administration of criminal justice into the hands 


of the peasantry of the three provinces of Leinster, Munster", 
and Connaught, under the Act which was called Lord O'Hagan's 
Juries Act. That Act put the administration of justice into 
the hands of a class who are under the control and direction 
of the leaders of sedition, and has been the most serious cause 
of the impunity of crime in recent years. After this there was 
a desire on Mr. Gladstone's part to destroy the University of 
Dublin, one of the most renowned seats of learning in the world. 
Mr. Gladstone contemplated the destruction of that University, 
and its conversion into a Roman Catholic seminary. But in this 
effort he failed ; his power collapsed for six years, till in 1 880 
Mr. Gladstone contrived again to become the head of the Govern- 
ment, and again he showed his policy in Ireland to be to 
strengthen the hands of the party of Repeal. 

I ask your attention to this review of Mr. Gladstone's policy. 
Yon know that his policy since 1880 has been a policy of con- 
cession to the party of Mr. Parnell — a policy framed to weaken 
the power of the Loyalists and to strengthen that of the disloyal 
party. Some of his measures, I am prepared to admit, were 
plausible enough ; but take his policy as a whole, and you will 
find that it has been directed to the weakening of the party of 
the Union, to the increasing of the party of disloyalty. This 
most insidious process has been spread over a long period, and 
has, no doubt, produced the effect which it was intended it 
should produce upon the Loyalists of Ireland and upon the 
public mind in England, and has been the cause of correspond- 
ing encouragement and triumph to the party of Repeal. For the 
last twelve years England has heard of nothing else but the 
Nationalists or Separatists in Ireland. The attention of Par- 
liament has been concentrated upon their action, and the time of 
Parliament has been monopolised by their proceedings. In the 
struggle which has been going on the Loyalists have lost much 
of their Parliamentary influence. All the corporations, the 
municipal bodies, and the local boards of guardians out of 
Ulster have fallen into the hands of the enemy, and in these 
bodies the Loyalists have scarcely any longer any representation. 
All that shows a very serious diminution of strength. No doubt 
it is very unpleasant for us to record it, but you will agree 

B 2 


that, at a moment like the present, when we are called upon to 
face a fresh crisis, it is wise on our part to look into the history 
of recent years, to examine our position, to take stock of it, to 
count up our gains and losses ; and I fear that you will find, in 
looking over recent years, that you Loyalists have very few 

I cannot conceal from you — it would be wrong if I concealed 
from you — my opinion as to the dangerous and deadly nature 
of the combination which is now arrayed against the interests 
which you hold dear — the combination of Mr. Gladstone with 
his personal following, supported by the Radical party, and 
supported by the party which follows Mr. Parnell. I believe — 
and I say it with some amount of shame as an Englishman — 
that the success of the resistance to this policy meditated by this 
combination primarily rests with you. The vast bulk of our 
modern English electoral body has begotten apathy and uncon- 
cern. The glamour of Mr. Gladstone's prestige and the spell of 
Mr. Gladstone's oratory are still powerful in England over the 
minds of men, and it is only by demonstrations the most im- 
posing, by energy the most striking, and by action the most 
emphatic that you can rivet the attention of the democracy of 
England on any particular part of public affairs, or that you 
can enable them to entertain doubts in their minds as to the 
personal infallibility of Mr. Gladstone, who has been for so long 
a time with a great portion of them their most venerated and 
adored idol. You are, gentlemen, I believe, in this great crisis 
the first line of defence, the second line of defence, and the last 
line of defence. With you it primarily rests whether Ireland 
shall remain an integral portion of this great empire, sharing in 
all its glory, partaking of all its strength, benefiting by all its 
wealth, and helping to maintain its burdens ; or whether, on the 
other hand, Ireland shall become a focus and a centre of foreign 
intrigue and deadly conspiracy directed against a dominion 
with which is indissolubly connected the happiness not only 
of the Western but also of the Eastern world. Upon you, 
gentlemen, lies this most tremendous responsibility ; to you the 
issue means everything. It means honour, religion, liberty, 
and, I should say, when I think of the days of 1641, it means 


possibly life itself. /To me, as an Englishman, the issue of 
this straggle seems without doubt to involve the fate of the 
British Empire. If we cannot hold Ireland, obviously we 
cannot hold India. We cannot hold our supremacy over our 
colonies if we cannot govern this country. \ Commerce is 
founded on dominion, and British commerce and British domi- 
nion must stand or fall together. Our commercial prosperity and 
supremacy depend upon our holding India and upon our union 
with the colonies. Therefore I say — and I hope I shall not be 
supposed to be guilty of exaggeration — that upon the issues of 
this contest the fate of the empire rests ; and yet the duty of 
suppressing this movement for the Repeal of the Legislative 
Union seems to depend mainly upon you. In 1844 one of the 
greatest ornaments that the Liberal party ever possessed was 
Lord Macaulay ; and what did he say about the value of the con- 
nection between England and Ireland and the value of that Union ? 
He said, ' Britain can do many things which are beyond the power 
of many other nations in the world : she has dictated peace to 
China ; she rules Africa and Australia ; she can sweep from the 
seas all commerce but her own ; she can blockade every port 
from the Baltic to the Adriatic ; she is able to guard her vast 
Indian dominions from all hostilities either by land or sea: but 
in this gigantic body there is one vulnerable spot. At that 
spot in '98 a blow was aimed which narrowly missed, but which, 
if it had not missed, must have been a deadly blow.' Those were 
the words of Lord Macaulay in 1844 ; they apply to the present 
moment. The question I have to ask you, gentlemen, is this : 
Are you the same men as your forefathers were in '98 ? Because 
now, in this nineteenth century — in this age of progress and 
civilisation — another deadly blow is aimed at the vulnerable spot. 
It is not the same as in '98. It is a blow aimed by different 
men. It is by a weapon forged in a different furnace. It is not a 
blow aimed by armed men rising in rebellion, and spreading 
murder and massacre and terror on every side. It is a blow, 
I am sorry to say, aimed by a Minister of the Crown, and 
which is smothered by all the glittering tinsel, by the artificial 
trappings, of constitutional and of Parliamentary action ; but a 
blow, nevertheless, far more dangerous, far more difficult to 


deal with, even than the one your forefathers had to meet 
in '98. 

It may be useful to inquire why this danger has so suddenly 
come upon you in Ireland. Six months ago, I venture to say, 
there was hardly a single practical politician who imagined that, 
by any possibility, the question of Repeal could come within 
the range of practical politics. Why has it come so suddenly 
upon you ? Is it because the circumstances of Ireland are in any 
way changed ? If the circumstances of Ireland have changed, 
it has been in such a manner as to make it all the more neces- 
sary to defend the Union. Irish grievances have been removed 
one after another ; and I do not believe that, at the present mo- 
ment, Ireland can point to a real grievance peculiar to herself 
which is not shared in also by England and Scotland, or to one 
which is of so desperate and intolerable a nature that the people 
should clamour for the Repeal of the Union. No : the cause of 
this movement is much more remote and much more indirect. 
The cause is — the attitude taken at the last election by the new 
electoral body in the English counties. If the new element in- 
troduced into the electorate by the last Reform Bill had not 
been seduced from the paths of common-sense and reason by 
the worthless bribes of Radical agitators, the Tory party would 
have been so strong in this Parliament that your honour, and 
liberty, and all that you hold dear, would have been safe at 
least for a generation. |The great English towns went for the 
Tories, but the counties fell away ; and consequently your liberty, 
your religion, all that you value, are in danger; the Loyalists are 
to be sacrificed, and the Union is to be dissolved. Why ? For 
this reason, and for no other — because the agricultural labourer 
of England has persuaded himself that the only road to happiness 
is the possession of three acres and a cow, and that the only 
men to help him well along that road are Mr. Gladstone and 
the Radical partvJ Of course that is not the reason which Mr. 
Gladstone would acknowledge. He would put forward much 
higher and loftier reasons than that which is the real reason. 
One of the reasons which Mr. Gladstone and Mr. John Morley 
put forward is this — they say that the cause of Repeal of the 
Union is the cause of five-sixths of the Parliamentary representa- 


tives of Ireland. Well, I do not believe that a more insincere 
reason was ever assigned for any legislative project before. 
When the franchise was extended it was known that the party 
of Mr. Parnell would be numerically increased. It was openly 
acknowledged by everybody; but it never entered into the 
imagination of any member of Parliament that the consequence 
of the extension of the franchise to Ireland was to be the Repeal 
of the Union between the two countries. The extension of the 
franchise was not for the benefit of Ireland only, but for the 
whole of the United Kingdom. But the franchise was extended 
under the belief that it would tend to the progress of the United 
Kingdom as a whole, of the empire generally. We never 
intended in Parliament that the franchise should be extended 
in order that the Irish people might obtain a Parliament in 
Dublin, or that the franchise should be extended for the purpose 
of dismembering the united empire. Do not think, gentlemen, 
that I regret the extension of the franchise in Ireland. I do not 
regret it. I supported it in the House of Commons, for I 
thought that the Legislative Union would be cemented thereby. 
Whether right or wrong in that action, I deny the right of Mr. 
Parnell with eighty followers, as I denied the right of Mr. 
Parnell with forty followers, to use the extension of the franchise 
for the purpose of destroying the British Empire, or for the 
purpose of ruining and scattering, or driving into exile a 
million or more of persons who, for two hundred years, have 
adhered to the British Empire. My lords and gentlemen, I 
told you that there was no doubt whatever that a Minister 
at the present time is meditating a deadly blow at the Union. 
Who is helping him ? Who is at the back of that Minister 
in this destructive policy? He has, no doubt, with him the 
Radical party in England ; but I do not think the Radical party 
in England, or even the Radical party in Scotland, of 
much consequence. If he had only such help, I do not think, 
gentlemen, he would progress very far. But he has behind 
him a force far more formidable : he has the party and the 
organisation of Mr. Parnell. Mr. Parnell aspires to obtain the 
government of Ireland for his party ; and on what title do 
they base their claim ? Do they base it on a long sequence of 


acts of heroism, endurance, or sacrifice ? Do they base it on 
hard-fought actions in the field ? It was thus that the Italians 
won their liberty ; it was thus that the Greeks won theirs ; it 
was thus that the Bulgarians gained theirs ; it was thus that 
the hardy mountaineers of Montenegro won their indepen- 
dence. Mr. Parnell's claim is founded on widely different 
grounds ; it is based on Parliamentary action of a very peculiar 
and discreditable nature. Are the Irish people who are under 
his control bound to him by love ? Is it not rather by terror ? 
Is there an j thing in the way in which Mr. Parnell deals with 
the Irish people which would appeal to the higher aspirations of 
a community ? The forces which Mr. Parnell elicits and directs 
emanate from the basest prejudices of class and sect — they are 
forces which are kept together by means of appeals to covetous- 
ness and greed, and by promises held out to them of the acquisi- 
tion of property by plunder, violence, and fraud. Is it not a 
matter of common knowledge that the forces which Mr. Parnell 
controls are brought into action by the most extraordinary system 
of organised intimidation which history can record, which makes 
the lives of those who have to submit to it almost intolerable ? 
Such are the forces which Mr. Parnell directly controls. There 
are other forces, which I do not say Mr. Parnell controls, and 
for the exercise of which I do not assert he is personally re- 
sponsible. Those forces are bred by foreign agencies and 
nourished by foreign gold, forces which act by murder, by 
assassination, and by dynamite, forces which terrorise the 
peasantry by moonlight marauding and midnight massacre; 
forces which do not confine their outrages to men, but, in order 
to injure and terrify men, mutilate and torture, with every cir- 
cumstance of ingenious atrocity, harmless and unoffending dumb 
animals. It is by forces such as these that the boasted five- 
sixths of the Irish people have been coerced into putting forward 
this demand for Repeal. Does that entitle them to national 
independence? Was there ever in the history of the world 
any record of a permanent structure of liberty built upon 
foundations so terrible and so foul ? 

Let me draw your attention to another point. Mr. Parnell 
and his party claim to govern Ireland through their own Parlia- 


ment. What capacity have these persons shown for the wise 
and humane government of a people ? Have they shown any 
burning desire for civil and religions liberty ? But let us go 
more into detail. What is the great want, would you say, of 
Ireland at the present moment ? Somebody in the audience 
said 'peace,' and I agree with him. But, next to that, and 
leaving out the North of Ireland, and taking the other three 
provinces, I will say that the great want of Ireland at the 
present moment is capital and credit, and in addition to these 
the diffusion among the people of a liberal learning. How does 
Mr. Parnell attract capital into Ireland ? You saw a singular 
example of his efforts in that direction tha other day. For some 
reason or other a very prosperous and powerful and wealthy 
company, an Irish Steam Packet Company, displeased Mr. 
Parnell's organisation the National League; and the moment 
that took place, on a pretext which was perfectly flimsy and 
frivolous, Mr. Parnell and the National League set themselves 
to work the ruin of that Irish company. Well, that is a clever 
way of attracting capital into Ireland. But how did Mr. 
Parnell go to work for the purpose of confirming Irish credit ? 
He again set to work in a most peculiar way. During the 
last six months there have been two deliberate and sustained 
attempts on the part of the National League to break the Bank 
of Ireland — that is how they seek to confirm credit. In 
December I happened to be in Dublin when the ' Freeman's 
Journal ' wrote a series of articles which had the effect of bring- 
ing down the Bank of Ireland stock 40 or 50 points in the 
market. And I believe that the ' Freeman's Journal ' would have 
persisted in that course but that, as I was told on the highest 
authority, the ' Freeman's Journal ' got a most significant intima- 
tion from persons in high position in the Roman Catholic 
Church that a very large amount of Roman Catholic charitable 
funds were invested in Bank of Ireland stock, and that the 
movement which was undoubtedly set on foot by the c Freeman's 
Journal ' was calculated greatly to cripple, and possibly alto- 
gether to destroy, those charitable funds. However, that is a 
very useful instance of the capacity of Mr. Parnell and his 
party for the purposes of government. They have almost 


ruined one of the most prosperous commercial companies in 
Ireland, and for the past six months they have done their best 
to break one of the greatest financial establishments in the 
country. How does Mr. Parnell endeavour to diffuse liberal learn- 
ing among the people of Ireland ? Why, you saw the other 
day from a speech of Archbishop Walsh — and he is one of 
Mr. Parnell's closest allies —that nothing would satisfy him until 
Trinity College was utterly destroyed, or at any rate changed 
beyond all recognition. Trinity College is perhaps as bright 
a centre of liberal learning as the world can show. That insti- 
tution was to be swept away — the last trace, as he called it, of 
Protestant ascendancy. I think you will find that, whether you 
try this party of Mr. Parnell by title or capacity, you will come 
to the conclusion that they have lamentably failed in making 
out their case. Mr. Gladstone contemplates the establishment 
of an Irish Parliament in Dublin, and not only an Irish Parlia- 
ment, but an Irish Ministry. Who, do you think, would compose 
that Irish Ministry ? I do not imagine that Mr. Parnell would 
have the composition of that Ministry entirely in his own hands. 
Greater powers than his would compose it, and I should have very 
little doubt that in that Ministry, after a short time, the Chan- 
cellor of the Irish Exchequer would be Mr. Patrick Egan. The 
Home Secretary would probably be Mr. Sheridan of Tubber- 
curry ; and other persons such as Messrs. Frank Byrne, Patrick 
Ford, or O'Donovan Rossa would hold high places in the 
Administration. Because, depend upon it, the first act of an 
Irish Parliament in Dublin must be to pass a general act of 
political amnesty, under which all these worthies whom I have 
named to you would immediately return, and would glorify and 
adorn by their presence the streets of Dublin and of Cork, and 
would be able by the record of their patriotic services, and by 
the fact of their having been compelled, owing to the intrusive 
attentions of the police, to pass a lingering exile in a foreign 
land, to make out an irresistible claim to the holding high office 
in an Irish Ministry. But am I to be told, at this time of day, 
that we are to call upon the Loyalists of Ireland — upon the 
citizens of this great and wealthy city — to submit themselves to 
the power of, and to obey laws which are framed and promul r 


gated by, miscreants such as these ? But that is the logical 
meaning, that is the inevitable result, of a Parliament in 
College Green. That is the real result of Mr. Gladstone's policy, 
and the forces which I have described to you are the forces with 
which Mr. Gladstone is going to work. I do not think I was 
wrong when I said that it was a monstrous and a formidable 
combination which now menaces your interests — one which 
might well strike terror into the stoutest heart ; and it is not 
at all out of place that we should inquire to-night, with all 
seriousness and earnestness, what resources we can count upon 
to meet this danger. 

Now, I would not say anything, and I would not for the 
world ask you to say anything, against the Roman Catholics of 
Ireland. To meet and overcome this formidable combination 
which is rampant against us, I would like to appeal to all the 
Loyalists of Ireland, to all loyal subjects of the Queen, no matter 
to what class or creed they may belong. Heaven forbid that I 
should say anything that would reflect upon the Catholics or 
indispose them towards our cause ! I know, my lords and gen- 
tlemen, that there are hundreds and thousands of Roman 
Catholics in England and in Ireland whose sympathies are for 
the Unionist party — who hope and long for the success of the 
Loyalists in Ireland. But at the present crisis I have a right 
to appeal to the loyal Roman Catholics of Ireland to come 
forward and declare themselves openly, to show publicly and un- 
mistakably which side they are on. I believe they regret to see 
the chiefs of their Church allying themselves with the party which 
has diffused and maintained doctrines at variance with the tenets 
of the Catholic Church, and that they must seriously condemn 
the connection between Catholic clergymen and the branches of 
-the National League. Many of the priests who take an active 
part in this agitation can hardly be ignorant of the complicity of 
some of the local branches of the League with some of the most 
frightful forms of crime and outrage. The loyal Catholics see 
this formidable organisation receiving additional strength from 
the consecration almost that it seems to receive from the Church 
of Rome in Ireland. They see half of Mr. Parnell's power is 
derived ftom the support of the hierarchy of Ireland. They see 


all this and they deplore it ; they mourn over it. No one here 
can doubt the sincerity of their feelings in this matter ; but I 
say that in these times no practical politician can be content 
with mere negative support or action. He that is not with us 
is against us ; and I have a right to call on those loyal Catholics 
whose existence we know of, whose motives we appreciate, and 
whose assistance we would gladly welcome — to stand forth 
publicly and pronounce in favour of that empire and that legis- 
lative Union under which they and their religion have enjoyed 
more toleration and more perfect liberty than their community 
have enjoyed in any other country in the world. I call on them 
to declare in favour of that legislative Union. I call on them 
to come forth and effectively protest against the offensive and 
defensive alliance which now apparently exists between the 
hierarchy of their Church and the machinery of rebellion 
and lawlessness and crime. I make this appeal with all sin- 
cerity, hoping and trusting that it may succeed ; but if, from 
one cause or another, from motives which I cannot appreciate, 
or from calculations which I cannot fathom or grasp, if this 
appeal should fail in its effect or should fall upon deaf ears, 
then I will be no party to any undue sacrifice in support of 
that cause which I am anxious to defend. If my appeal to 
the loyal Roman Catholics, made thus publicly, remains neg- 
lected or unanswered, then, as an Englishman having filled 
a position which cannot be divested of responsibility, I would 
not hesitate, in such untoward circumstances, to confide all 
my hopes of the salvation of the nation and the security of the 
United Kingdom to the efforts of the Protestants in Ireland, 
and especially to the efforts of the Protestants of Ulster. I 
would not refrain from reviving and relying upon great historic 
memories. For nearly two hundred years your motto, your* 
password, your watchword, and your cry has been ' No sur- 
render ! ' For nearly two hundred years you have kept bright 
and burning the lamp of civil and religious liberty, and the 
flame of that lamp has been piously tended during succeeding 
generations. These memories have been handed down in Ulster 
families and Ulster homes. I ask you most solemnly, are these 
memories dead or living memories? The time may be ap- 


proaching when you will have to show practically whether 
you are worthy guardians of the traditions committed to you. 
Now may be the time to show whether all those ceremonies 
and forms which are practised in Orange Lodges are really 
living symbols, or only idle and meaningless ceremonies ; whether 
that which you have so carefully fostered is really the lamp of 
liberty — whether that flame is the undying and unquenchable 
fire of freedom. The time may be at hand when you will 
have to demonstrate this faith in a practical manner — when 
you will have to show that the path of honour and safety is 
still illuminated by the light of other days. It may be that 
this dark cloud which now is impending over Ireland will 
pass away without breaking. If it does, I believe you and 
your descendants will be safe for a long time to come. Her 
Majesty's Government hesitates. Mr. Gladstone asks for time, 
like Macbeth before the murder of Duncan. Mr. Gladstone, be- 
fore he plunges the knife into the heart of the British Empire, 
reflects ; he hesitates. Nor do I think there is any one of sufficient 
influence and authority who can urge him on by saying, c Give 
me the dagger.' I have no doubt that the demonstrations of 
to-day in Belfast will have a veiy useful effect not only on the 
public mind in England, but also on the ministerial mind, and 
many more of them must be held. And those demonstrations 
ought to be imposing, not only from their numbers, but also for 
their orderly character. We are essentially a party of law and 
order, and any violent action resorted to prematurely or without 
the most obvious and overwhelming necessity might have the 
most fatal and damaging effect upon the cause which we so dearly 
value, and might alienate forces whose assistance would be be- 
yond all price. The Loyalists in Ulster should wait and watch — 
organise and prepare. Diligence and vigilance ought to be your 
watchword, so that the blow, if it does come, may not come upon 
you as a thief in the night, and may not find you unready and 
taken by surprise. I believe that this storm will blow over, 
and that the vessel of the Union will emerge with her Loyalist 
crew stronger than before ; but it is right and useful that I 
should add, that if the struggle should continue, and if my con- 
clusions should turn out to be wrong, then I am of opinion that the 


struggle is not likely to remain within the lines of what we are 
accustomed to look upon as constitutional action. No portentous 
change such as the Repeal of the Union, no change so gigantic, 
could be accomplished by the mere passing of a law. The his- 
tory of the United States will teach us a different lesson, and if 
it should turn out that the Parliament of the United Kingdom 
was so recreant from all its high duties, and that the British 
nation was so apostate to traditions of honour and courage, 
as to hand over the Loyalists of Ireland to the domination of 
an Assembly in Dublin which must be to them a foreign and 
an alien assembly, if it should be within the design of Providence 
to place upon you and your fellow-Loyalists so heavy a trial, 
then, gentlemen, I do not hesitate to tell you most truly that 
in that dark hour there will not be wanting to you those in 
England who would be willing to cast in their lot with you, 
and who, whatever the result, will share your fortunes and your 


Manchester, March 3, 1886. 

[In this speech Lord Randolph Churchill reviewed the chief 
incidents connected with the Government of India during his period 
of office, and again discussed the Irish question. Some abridgment 
has been necessary, but the very interesting part of the speech in 
which Lord Randolph first gave the name of the ' Union Party ' 
to the coalition opposed to separation is retained.] 

NO doubt my tenure of office in the India Department was 
a very short one — only, I think, about seven months ; 
but I can say, with some amount of personal pride, that a 
good deal was crammed into those seven months. Allusion 
has been made to most critical negotiations with Russia in 
respect of the frontier of Afghanistan, which were going on 
when Lord Salisbury acceded to office. I will tell you why they 
were critical — because the Government of Russia did not respect 
the Government of Mr. Gladstone ; because the Government of 
Russia found the Government of Mr. Gladstone to be a Govern- 
ment which would yield, not only British territory, but, naturally 
enough, the territory of British allies ; and because the Govern- 
ment of Russia thought that so long as the Government of Mr. 
Gladstone was in power they had only to ask and to receive. 
That is what made the negotiations with Russia critical. But 
when Lord Salisbury and his colleagues acceded to office, though 
the Government of Russia knew quite well that Lord Salisbury 
and his colleagues were not animated by the smallest spark of 
hostility to the great Russian Empire, but that they were de- 
termined that England should possess her just rights, and 
that the allies of England who were under the guardianship of 


England should be protected at all costs, the Government of 
Russia respected the Government of Lord Salisbury, and persons 
who respect each other always remain friends. These negotia 
tions were almost immediately put into peaceful training, and the 
state of things which was so dangerous at one time that yon 
actually had to vote eleven millions of money for preparations 
for war with Russia was dealt with and ameliorated, and danger 
of war with Russia passed away. The policy of protecting the 
Ameer of Afghanistan and of bringing the might of England 
to the defence of his territories is a policy which unites both 
parties in this country. Not only were those difficult negotia- 
tions brought to a close, but the policy of protecting the Indian 
frontier, of constructing fortifications and railways, was actively 
initiated and pushed forward ; not only that, but, I am happy 
to say, arrangements were made for very large and extensive 
military manoeuvres in India — manoeuvres which have not ex- 
cited quite so much attention as they deserve to excite in this 
country, but which brought together a larger British army than 
India has ever seen, and which have been most valuable to the 
officers engaged, and have been a theme of admiration to the 
agents of many foreign Powers who were invited to witness 
them. It was not only in war that the policy of the late 
Government towards India was exhibited. I am thankful to 
say that the construction of two most important Indian railways 
was sanctioned, and is now being actively proceeded with ; and 
there is nothing more satisfactory in the state of India, nothing 
more promising for her future, than the development of the rail- 
way system and the profits which the present railway systems 
pay to the shareholders. 

There is another matter which, I think, would interest you 
in Lancashire, and which has not, as far as I am aware, 
attracted any amount of public attention. It fell to my lot 
to be able to take up, with a very great amount of success, 
aided most cordially by I*ord Salisbury, a project for opening 
up a new market to British industry. I allude to the open- 
ing up of the great market of Tibet. There is a population 
in Tibet which is capable of absorbing a very large amount of 
English goods, and especially Lancashire goods. But, owing 


to the jealousy of the Chinese, that market was completely 
closed for many years to British commerce. I am happy to 
inform you that a mission, which I originated, to Pekin, has 
removed almost entirely all the jealousies of the Chinese with 
regard to the commerce between England and Tibet. Of 
course the Tory party is always taunted with being a party of 
annexation. If is always being taunted with being a party 
which wishes unduly to extend the territory and the liability of 
the British Empire. But I imagine that if you were to com- 
pare the annexations which have been made by the Liberals 
and the annexations made by the Tories in the last fifty years 
you would find the balance of prudence very much on the side 
of the Tory party. With regard to Burmah, we literally had 
no option. Not only was the conduct of King Thebaw utterly 
beyond all the limits of toleration, but there were undoubtedly 
certain subjects of France who, with or without the support or 
connivance of the French authorities, were establishing rights 
in that country which, if they had not been nipped in the bud, 
would have been rights which would have entitled them at a 
future time to the forcible and the armed protection of France. 
That was a state of things which no prudent Indian Government 
would tolerate for a moment. Thebaw had thrown himself into 
the hands of certain French adventurers. These adventurers were 
dealt with while they remained adventurers ; we did not delay 
until they had become French subjects, acting with the support 
of France, and possessing legitimate claims on the protection of 
that country. That was why it was not possible to delay, and 
therefore King Thebaw's territories were invaded on the most 
legitimate ground that any Government ever had for invasion. 
Thebaw was deposed and the territory of Upper Burmah has 
been annexed to the British Crown. I believe that territory is 
capable of vast development, and that it is a territory abounding 
in riches of one kind or another — that it offers a fertile field for 
British enterprise and commerce. At the same time I would 
not have you build too sanguine expectations upon the imme- 
diate development of trade with Upper Burmah. It will pro- 
bably take some years before order is thoroughly established in 
the country, and before life and property are completely secure. 
vol. n. c 


It will probably take some years before the revenues of the 
country meet the expenses of administration. I had one enor- 
mous advantage. I had to deal with a Viceroy (Lord Dufferin) 
who, I have no hesitation in saying, has proved himself to be 
one of the most enlightened statesmen who ever left these shores 
for India. I was fortunate indeed that I had not to deal with 
a Viceroy like Lord Ripon — a foolish and arrogant doctrinaire 
Radical, who, in all the various phases of public life in which he 
has taken part, has betrayed an extravagant amount of mental 
instability. I have no hesitation in saying here, what I sus- 
pected before and what I told before, but I say it now with all 
the knowledge which I acquired during my stay at the India 
Office, that you cannot exaggerate, you can hardly overestimate, 
the harm which Lord Ripon did to the interests of your Indian 
Empire. By his folly and by his blindness, he not only brought 
the Russian army almost to the gates of India, but, for some 
inscrutable cause which I have never been able to understand, 
he carefully fomented with every circumstance of small in- 
genuity all those hatreds of race and religion and of dynasty 
which are so rife in India, and which it has been the object of 
the British Government since the days of the Indian Mutiny, 
if possible, to mitigate and to wipe away. All I would say 
before I leave Indian matters is this. There is no reason why 
you should be alarmed for the safety of your Indian Empire. 
The frontier has been put in a state of defence. The army has 
been increased. You have a viceroy who is capable of guarding 
all the best interests of India in the wisest possible manner. 
The only subject which, if I had remained at the India Office, 
would have continued to fill me with anxiety is the subject of 
Indian finance. Not that India is not perfectly solvent, not that 
India does not possess an elastic revenue ; but there is a feature 
in Indian finance of a most mysterious and unaccountable nature, 
and one which few people are at all able to understand or to 
give any explanation of, and that is the continued fall in the 
value of silver. The continued fall in the price of the rupee is 
undoubtedly a source of extreme anxiety to Indian governors, 
and it will be for you in Lancashire, great as your trade is with 
India, enormous as your exports are, invaluable to you as that 


possession is — it will be for you in Lancashire to turn your 
attention most anxiously to the most dark and apparently un- 
fathomable question of the relative value of silver and gold, and 
to endeavour to ascertain by your ingenuity and by your ex- 
perience whether some policy, in the nature of fixing perma- 
nently the relative value of those two metals, may not possibly 
not only bring security to the Indian finances, but may be a 
real remedy for our decaying trade, and may be a means for 
reviving British enterprise and British commerce. 

There is another subject which I cannot pass by to-night. 
I allude to the depression of British trade, and in connection 
with the question of British trade I cannot help bringing be- 
fore you the serious question of the unemployed in England. 

Vast numbers of British artisans— I regret to say greatly in-~ 
creasing numbers — from competition, free imports, and one 
cause or another, are unable by their skill and intelligence 
to earn their daily bread. That is perhaps one of the most 
serious questions which we in this generation have to consider. 
As to the numbers of the unemployed, I do not know what 
they may be in Manchester, but I know that in London and 
many other large towns they are very vast. It is a hard 
thing that a man who has brains and education and tech- 
nical skill should not be able to utilise those talents so as to 
support himself and those who depend upon him, and it is 
a desperate and dangerous thing when the number of those 
■' persons has reached the proportions that it has to-day. Since 
1832 you have had, as Mr. Gladstone is fond of reminding the 
public, thirteen Parliaments ; and in two of those Parliaments 
only have the Tory party had a majority, and been able to work 
their way. In eleven Parliaments out of those thirteen the 
Liberal party had a majority, and in every one of those Parlia- 
ments the Liberal party has come forward with great promises 
of what they would do for the prosperity of English trade and 
commerce ; but what is the ultimate result of it all ? It is that 
you have such numbers of unemployed at the present day in ' 
almost every English large town as to constitute a most alarm- 
ing social danger. That, I say, is worth your consideration. 
There was no object whatever which was nearer to the heart of 

t 2 


the late Government, to the heart of its members individually 
and collectively, there was no object on which they spent more 
time and study, than how they might use their powers so as to 
do something to revive British trade. The moment they came 
into office they determined to appoint a Royal Commission com- 
posed of all those men of i light and leading ' who would be 
willing to serve on it, so as if possible not only to investigate 
the causes of our decaying industry, but if possible to suggest 
remedies, and to find new sources and new markets for British 
industry. And they did more. Lord Salisbury, setting aside 
altogether a Treasury minute of Mr. Childers's, which to a great 
extent cramped the efforts of our agents abroad for fostering and 
encouraging British enterprise, sent special instructions to all 
our agents abroad that they were on every occasion to lose no 
opportunity of assisting British commerce either in the person 
of individuals or in the form of co-operative effort. More than 
that : it would probably have been the policy of Lord Salis- 
bury and his colleagues, as will be seen from what he said the 
other day, to deal specially out of the reserves of the State by* 
means of public works with the exceptional distress which now 
exists. At any rate, we would not have folded our hands and 
looked idly on. We would have tried to do something. "What 
is the policy of the present Government ? I do not think they 
have got any. They are so occupied with other matters that I 
do not think the question of the unemployed ever comes before 
them, except when certain violent persons choose to make riots 
in our streets. 

[A review of election results followed, and Lord Randolph 
Churchill concluded thus : — ] 

1 notice that in your programme it is stated that after these 
remarks of mine have been brought to a close the organ is to 
play ' Rule Britannia,' and I have no doubt that you will join 
in the chorus and that you will sing the classic words that 
' Britons never shall be slaves.' It is of very little use the 
organ playing c Rule Britannia,' and it is of very little use your 
singing that Britons never will be slaves, when at the present 
moment Britannia is not ruling, and when you who are here 
to-night, together with hundreds and thousands of your country- 


men, are slaves, the political slaves, of the party of Mr. Parnell 
and of the portion of Ireland which is filled with deadly hatred 
of the Britannia of which yon sing. It may be argued that I 
have pursued a somewhat dangerous line of argument, the natural 
answer to which, and one that might be put forward by Ireland, 
or that portion of Ireland which follows Mr. Parnell, might be, 
1 If yon do not like our interference, we ask for nothing better 
than for a Parliament of our own. We do not want to interfere 
in English politics/ It might be that there are Scotch Radicals 
who will say, c We do not want to interfere with your English 
policy, and we shall be very happy with a Parliament in Edin- 
burgh.' The Welsh Radicals might say, c Nothing would con- 
tent us more than a Welsh Parliament at Carnarvon, where 
everybody should speak Welsh/ And they might all unite in 
saying, < If you English do not like to be overruled, let us all 
have Parliaments of our own and we will leave you alone/ That 
undoubtedly would be an answer, but I think it would be a very 
superficial answer, and foolish advice to give to the people, and a 
very foolish policy for the English people to adopt. I think, to 
adopt a policy like that because we did not succeed in obtaining 
that predominance in the British Parliament we had a right to, 
we should be in the position of a person who cuts off his nose 
to spite his face. No : there is a much better remedy than that, 
and by adopting it England can undoubtedly claim her just 
rights in the Parliament of the United Kingdom ; and that policy 
is that England should unite, j^e t all party differences, let 
records and traditions of party conflict be forgotten. Is it not 
obvious, is it not within your knowledge, that there is not the 
smallest perceptible difference of opinion between the moderate 
Liberal and the modern Tory ? None whatever. Has not the 
time come when, in the face of these great dangers, those 
old differences and old quarrels and traditions should be for- i 
gotten,?] What is the position taken up by Sir Henry James I 
and Lord Hartington ? They say, * We will join no cave, we 
will make no opposition to Mr. Gladstone ' ; and Sir Henry 
James intimated very clearly, c We distrust the Tory party, and 
will not enter into any relations with them, and will consider no 
action with them for the common welfare of the country/ Is 


that a rational or logical position ? Is it not a childish position, 
a perpetuation of old feuds and old contests which now, though 
in old days of great meaning, are as senseless and stupid as the 
contest and tumult which seven centuries ago used to divide 
the circus at Constantinople between the Greens and the Blues, 
and which at the present day in the counties of Limerick and 
Tipperary divide the Irish on the merits of what are called 
respectively three-year-olds and four-years-olds. Is not the 
difference only in the name ? Is there any rhyme or reason, 
when the highest interests of the empire are at stake, and the 
future fortunes of the country hang almost on the line these 
men may take — is it not foolish and imbecile to perpetuate 
these meaningless differences, which perhaps originated in old 
family quarrels, or perhaps are now perpetuated by mere per- 
sonal dislike ? That is not the attitude of the Tory party, that 
is not the attitude of Lord Salisbury and his late colleagues. 
Our position is this : we care nothing for office in itself except 
as a means to benefit the country, W© do care for this — that 
there shall be a Government of England that shall conduct the 
policy of England on lines that commend themselves to reason 
and to common sense. If a Government is formed and carried 
on on these lines we care not who compose it. To that Govern- 
ment we give not only a party but a general support. That is 
how we approach those influential politicians who differ with 
Mr. Gladstone at the present time. We say : c Tell us what you 
want ; dictate your terms. We believe in your hearts you are 
animated only by a desire for the welfare of the country ; we 
believe you possess the capacity, mental and otherwise, for con- 
tributing to that welfare. If you like to form a Government 
yourselves we will support you. If, on the other hand, you 
wish for our perianal co-operation in that Government, we will 
give it you. If there are persons to whom you object and whom 
you do not wish to serve with, those persons will stand aside 
cheerfully. Our object, and our one object, at the present time, in 
this time of enormous peril, is that the government of the Queen 
may be wisely carried on.' 

I am glad to have this opportunity of asking you men of 


Manchester, gathered together in this great hall, which has seen 
many famous and historic gatherings — I am glad to have this 
opportunity of asking you, who are perhaps as capable of giving 
a political opinion as any political community in the country : 
I Do you not think that the time has arrived — and fully arrived 
— when we might seriously consider together how we might 
form a new political party in England? Do you not think that 
that party might be an essentially English party ? I say English 
from no spirit of prejudice whatever. I mean a party which 
shall be essentially English in all those ideas of justice, of 
moderation, of freedom from prejudice, and of resolution which 
are the peculiarities of the English race. Do you not think 
that such a party might be formed which might combine all 
that is best of the politics of the Tory, the Whig, or the Liberal ? 
— a party which should combine all that is best of what is 
denominated under those various headings ; combine them all, 
whether they be principles or whether they be men ; and might 
not we call that party by a new name — might not we call it 
the party of the Union ? Members of that party might be known 
as Unionists! Our opponents are the party of Separation, and 
they may Be known as ' Separatists/ because they are a party- 
I do not care whether you take Mr. Gladstone's scheme, or Mr. 
John Morley's scheme, or Mr. Chamberlain's scheme — who, in 
one form or another, would adopt a policy which would be 
equivalent to the restoration of the Heptarchy — a policy whicli 
would throw back our civilisation for centuries, and a policy 
which must inevitably destroy that great fabric of empire 
which those ten centuries have laboriously erected. I ask you 
to answer that proposition seriously. Let us go in for a party 
of Union, and it is not only to be a party of union of the United 
Kingdom, but it is also to be a party which supports as its great 
and main and leading principle union with our colonies and union 
with our Indian Empire. I offer this without further elaboration 
to your most earnest attention, because I believe that it is only 
by the union of all the subjects of the Queen in all parts of the 
world — that it is only by the re-invigorated co-operation, cohe- 
sion, and consolidation of all parts of the widely scattered British 


Empire — that it is only by such a policy of union that you can 
hope to restore to your commerce and to your industries their 
lost prosperity. It is only by such a policy of union effectively 
and perseveringly carried out that you can hope to discharge 
successfully that gigantic duty of maintaining and of diffusing 
freedom, civilisation, and Christianity which an all-wise Pro- 
vidence has devolved upon the English-speaking millions of 


House op Commons, April 12, 1886. 

[Mr. Gladstone introduced his famous Home Rule Bill, in a 
speech of marvellous power, on April 8, 1886, and the Land Pur- 
chase Bill — which was then declared to be an inseparable part of the 
scheme— eight days afterwards. The following speech was delivered 
in the first week of the debate.] 

T DO not believe that if the youngest member of this House 
■*- were to live as long as the oldest member of this House, and 
were during all that long period to have a seat in Parliament, 
he would ever be called upon to consider matters more momen- 
tous than are now before the House of Commons. A debate 
upon the relations — harmonious or otherwise — which exist, or 
ought to exist, between races, between peoples, between nations, 
cannot fail to be of a character most interesting, most exciting. 
It belongs essentially to the highest order of topics which can 
come under the notice of a free Parliament. It ought to be 
approached with caution and after exhaustive study. Such a 
debate is seldom carried on without a large admixture of 
passion and prejudice ; but if these forces can to any extent l>e 
eliminated, the prospect of arriving at a possible solution of the 
problems that may be raised will be brighter and more assured. 
It is not my intention to weary the House by any close exami- 
nation of the details of this measure, because I do not think any 
such examination would be at all suitable to a first-reading debate ; 
because, in the second place, there is so much, even after the 
marvellous exposition of the First Lord of the Treasury, 1 which is 
left in doubt and mystery ; and, in the third place, I must say that, 
after consideration and reconsideration of the Prime Minister's 

1 Mr. Gladstone. 


speech, I am led irresistibly to the conclusion that the scheme now 
before the House appears, so far as I am informed, to involve such 
complicated, such inexplicable, such a multitudinous mass of 
contradictions and absurdities, that I feel certain, if it had not 
been proposed to the House by the high and illustrious authority 
of the First Lord of the Treasury, it would not have been for 
one moment seriously considered. There are to be found in the 
Bill, by a careful student, a great quantity of what I must call 
fanciful and eccentric guarantees and safeguards. I own I was 
a little astonished, and somewhat alarmed, by the apparent light- 
hearted acquiescence of the Irish party in the proposed guarantees 
and safeguards. Their attitude, so far as it has been represented 
hitherto, reminded me of the well-known story of Theodore Hook. 
When he went up to the University the Vice-Chancellor asked him 
whether he was prepared to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles. 
' Certainly/ he replied, 4 forty, if you like.' That extraordinary 
manifestation of frivolity to some extent discomposed the Uni- 
versity authorities. I take, as an illustration of those safeguards 
and guarantees, a very remarkable example. I would draw the 
attention of the House to the proposed composition of the new 
Irish Parliament. It is proposed by the Prime Minister that 
the new Irish Parliament shall be composed of two orders of 
members, elected by different constituencies. I have taken a 
great deal of trouble since Thursday night to consult the highest 
authorities I could get access to ; and I believe I am right in 
saying, that if you search ancient and modern history through 
and through, you will find no precedent in the records of con- 
stitutional government for such a proposal. There is perhaps a 
precedent, but I doubt whether it is one which will be at all 
flattering to the dignity of the Irish Parliament. There is the 
synod of the Disestablished Church in Ireland that does, I 
believe, consist of two orders, acting separately and at times 
together. But, first, I do not think there is any connection or 
analogy between the synod of a disestablished Church and a 
deliberative and legislative secular assembly. Secondly, I have 
the authority of a distinguished member of the synod for stating 
that the separation of the two orders leads to the most constant 
deadlock and the most . protracted discussion. However, the 


first order in this new Parliament is intended by the First 
Lord of the Treasury specially to represent property ; and it is 
a remarkable thing, and one well worthy of the attention of 
the Radical party below the gangway, that the leader of the 
Liberal party — a leader who certainly approximates on many 
occasions to the more advanced tendencies of that party— should 
at this time propose for the constitution of a representative 
assembly so reactionary and so discarded a machinery as pro- 
perty qualifications. I would also remark in passing that the 
peculiar rating and property qualification which is proposed for 
the electors does not necessarily protect the Protestant minorities. 
I have it on authority that I can trust that there are many 
hundreds of the farmers of Ulster who would not be entitled to 
vote for the order which is intended specially to represent the 
minority, whereas there would be hundreds of the cattle graziers 
of Limerick, Cork, Tipperary, and Meath who would vote in 
the election of that order. 

The second order of the proposed House of Commons 
certainly does not represent property, and the arrangement is 
that these orders are to sit and vote together, but that either 
order can at any time demand separate voting, and that either 
order can veto the action of the other order. May I be allowed 
to put that into operation ? I suppose the meeting of the Irish 
Parliament, and I test this curious arrangement on three points. 
I take first the election of the Speaker. Obviously, the election 
of a Speaker may have a great deal to do with the protection of 
minorities ; and it is also perfectly possible that one order may 
prefer one person as Speaker and the other order may prefer 
another. As far as I can make out, this would be the result. 
The popular order would carry their Speaker. The property 
order would veto the election, and the election of a Speaker 
would be suspended for three or five years. J test it from 
another point of view, deeply interesting to the members of the 
Irish party. I test it on the point of procedure and the rules 
of debate. It is quite possible that a certain portion of the 
Irish Parliament in the second order might prefer certain pro- 
cedure and rules of debate — they might support the rule of 
closure of debate. On the other hand, it is quite possible that 


the first order might object. Again the veto comes in, and the 
procedure regulations and the rules of debate are suspended for 
three or five years. I test it by one more instance. I take the 
question of the Budget. I can well imagine the hon. member 
for Cork, as Irish Minister, placing before an Irish Parliament 
the financial arrangements for 1887 ; I can, without any great 
stretch of imagination, suppose that those arrangements may 
not possibly be altogether agreeable to the order specially 
representing property. That order demands separate voting, 
vetoes the Budget for three or five years, and thus the financial 
arrangements are suspended. 

I come to another point, which, I think, is of the utmost 
importance. The Prime Minister took great credit to himself 
for maintaining what he called the fiscal unity of the United 
Kingdom. How has that been effected ? It has been effected 
by retaining the power of voting the customs and excise in the 
hands of the British Government and the British Parliament ; 
but this is to be done by the violation as regards Ireland of the 
most ancient British right, that taxation and representation 
should go together. What has been the reason for that change ? 
The Prime Minister told us that it was because he was so 
extremely anxious to maintain the fiscal unity of the United 
Kingdom. It may be so. No doubt it was his desire ; but I 
think there were other reasons not altogether independent of 
electioneering considerations. It would obviously be most im- 
prudent that customs and excise should be handed over to an 
Irish Parliament, because the prospect of duties being placed 
on English manufactures and goods might not be viewed with 
favour by English electors. The arrangement appears to be 
this — that, if it is agreed to, the hon. member for Cork l and 
his party, acting on behalf of Ireland, and representing Ireland, 
sell to the British Government and the British Parliament for 
1,400,000?. a year the inalienable right of a free people that 
representation and taxation should go together. The hon. 
member for Cork stated in interruption of the right hon. member 
for West Birmingham 2 that he considered the 1 ,400,000Z. a year 
a valuable quid pro quo, and therefore he was not disposed to 
1 Mr. Parnell. * Mr. Chamberlain. 


press the claim on behalf of the Irish Parliament. But the hon. 
member for Cork and his party, as I think I can show, do more 
than that. They sell for 1,400,000?. a year the power of the 
purse in the Irish Parliament. The arrangement is this. There 
are customs and excise in Ireland collected to the amount of 
6,100,000/. a year, and out of that sum 3,500,000/. will be taken 
for the obligations to the Imperial Exchequer, leaving a balance 
of over 3,000,000/. which is to be paid over by the Imperial officials 
into the Irish Treasury, beyond the control of the Irish Parlia- 
ment, not voted by the Irish Parliament, and, for all I know, 
not controlled, even indirectly, by the Irish Parliament, but 
absolutely in the power of the Irish Government. In addition 
to that, there will be also in the hands of the Irish Government 
a non-tax revenue amounting to just over 1,000,000/. a year. 
Therefore, I make out that under the proposed arrangement 
the Irish Government will have in their hands, practically 
independent of the Irish Parliament, something a little over 
3,000,000/. a year, and in good years considerably more. Now, 
is that not an extraordinary constitution to propose ? The cost 
of civil government in Ireland is estimated by the Prime 
Minister at two and a half millions ; so that it comes to this — 
that the Irish Government will have at their undisputed control 
more than enough money to cany on the government of Ireland 
without the aid of the Parliament at all ; and it would be per- 
fectly open to the Irish Government to dismiss the Parliament 
and never summon it at all. I shall be glad to know what is 
the view the Radical and Irish members take of the proposal 
that the customs and the excise should be voted for a period of 
years and should be handed over absolutely to the control of the 
Irish Treasury. I would also point out to the hon. member for 
Cork, that the 1,400,000/. a year which he proposes to obtain 
as the price for the considerable sacrifice on his part is of an 
extremely illusory and precarious character. It may be largely 
affected by the importation to England of spirits in bond. It 
may be largely affected by the diminution in the excise receipts 
— a diminution which, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will say, 
is going on very rapidly at the present moment. It would also 
be largely affected by temperance legislation, not necessarily in 


Ireland, but in England and Scotland. That is the price which 
the Irish pay for this arrangement, under whiph fiscal unity is 
maintained ; but what is the price which the English people pay 
for this arrangement ? I think it will be found that the price of 
the English people is far heavier. The effect of this arrangement, 
so far as I can make out, will be, if it is carried into effect, that 
the customs and excise duties of the whole of Great Britain will 
be stereotyped. It is possible that I may be wrong, but it 
appears to me that the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
in England will be very much cramped, if not altogether tied. 
What arises from this bargain ? The customs and the excise 
are to remain in the hands of the Imperial Parliament, and 
Ireland is to pay so much to England, and no more. I do not 
see how the Chancellor of the Exchequer in England can ever 
lower the customs and excise duties ; because if he does so he 
depletes and diminishes the resources out of which Ireland has 
got to pay her way and her tribute to England, and he takes 
that course without the Irish being represented in Parliament. 
But, further, I do not see how the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
can raise the customs and the excise duties; because if he does so 
he forces on the Irish a taxation which they do not want and a 
surplus revenue which possibly they will not require. I may be 
told, 'Oh, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in that case will enter 
into negotiations with the Irish Government and the Irish Parlia- 
ment and come to an agreement with them.' But what does 
that come to? It comes to this — that the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, and the Imperial Parliament at Westminster, wish- 
ing to deal with revenue amounting to one-half of the whole of 
our resources, cannot really deal with the revenue with any free- 
dom, or indeed with freedom at all, unless he goes to Dublin 
and sues for permission from the Irish Government and the 
Irish Parliament. I want to know, in that case, what becomes 
of the supremacy of the British Parliament. 

So much at present for the details of the Bill, and I come now 
to its great principle. What is the principle of this Bill ? I hold, 
with a good deal of confidence, that the principle of the Bill is 
Repeal. The Prime Minister on Thursday afternoon stated that' 
it was not the intention or desire of the Government to repeal 


the Act of Union. He said that he only meant to modify it in 
certain particulars. If it had not been the Prime Minister who 
made that statement, if it had been any ordinary person, I could 
hardly have prevented myself from interrupting to ask whether 
he had read the Act of Union. It is possible that many hon. 
members have not been able to refer to the text of the Act of 
Union ; anyhow, as the Act of Union is called in question, the 
House will allow me to direct its attention to its articles. The 
first article of the Union is : ' That it be the first article of the 
Union of the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland that the 
said kingdoms shall, on the 1st day of January, which shall be 
in the year of our Lord 1801, and for ever after, be united into 
one kingdom by the name of the United Kingdom of Great 
Britain and Ireland.' Well, sir, but what does that expression 
mean ? What did the framers of this Act mean by the unity 
of the United Kingdom ? Was it to be a union of the United 
Kingdom for no practical purpose whatever, or was it to be a union 
of the United Kingdom for all those practical purposes for which 
England and Ireland entered into it ? How will you maintain 
the unity of the United Kingdom now if you pass this Bill into 
law ? In a most singular and curious way. You will maintain 
it by excluding summarily one portion — a portion which, under 
certain circumstances, might be very prosperous — a portion in- 
habited by five millions of people — from any share and any voice, 
and for all time, in the discussion of any foreign, any colonial, any 
commercial, and any imperial affairs. And then I am told that 
the unity of the United Kingdom is maintained and that the 
Act of Union is not repealed ! But I go on to the next article, 
the second, which provides for the succession to the Crown ; 
and I would only point out on that matter that if, in the course 
of time, the House of Commons should be called on to face a 
great crisis as regards the succession to the Crown, as it had to 
do in the beginning of the eighteenth century, Ireland will 
under this Bill have no voice in that important matter. The 
Imperial Parliament can impose — if such a crisis were to arise 
— any monarch upon Ireland which it chooses, and Ireland has 
nothing to say to it ; and yet I am told that the unity of the 
United Kingdom is maintained ! I proceed to the most impor- 


tant article of the Act of Union. The third article is as follows; 
it is very short, and it is the main article of the Act : c That it 
be the third article of the Union that the said United Kingdom 
be represented in one and the same Parliament, to be called the 
Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ire- 
land.' It is provided by the Act of Union that Ireland is to be 
represented in the same Parliament as the people of England 
and Scotland, and under this Bill it is provided that the Irish 
people, for all purposes whatever, and for all time, shall not be 
represented at Westminster. And yet we are told by the Prime 
Minister that this is not Repeal ! The Prime Minister declared 
in his speech that the supremacy of Parliament would not be 
impaired in the slightest degree. But I do not understand what 
is really meant by ' Parliament ' in this case. Does he mean 
the Parliament that remains at Westminster ? Because, after 
this Bill comes into operation, the Parliament that remains at 
Westminster, and which will be for all intents and purposes 
the Imperial Parliament, can no longer make any laws for 
Ireland except on certain limited and specified points. It 
cannot, with these exceptions, make a law or repeal a law for 
Ireland. Suppose that the Irish Government and the Irish 
Parliament encounter some little difficulty — which may pos- 
sibly be the case — in asserting their authority or in main- 
taining their authority in certain parts of Ulster ; suppose that 
the Government of the lion, member for Cork is compelled by 
this difficulty to bring in some measure for the disarmament of 
Ulster, or for the abolition of trial by jury in Ulster, or for the 
suspension of the Habeas Corpus in that part of the country. 
The Imperial Parliament cannot say one word. Even the pre- 
rogatives of the Crown of assent or veto may be delegated to 
the Viceroy, and the Imperial Parliament will have no official 
knowledge of such a strange and alarming state of things. Not 
a word can the Imperial Parliament say ; and the grand result 
of all this turns out to be that the protection of the lives, the 
liberties, and the property of every man, woman, and child in 
Ireland passes absolutely and for ever from the jurisdiction of 
the Imperial Parliament. And yet I am told, and the House 
of Commons is told, and we are expected to believe with the 


unreasoning blind credulity of an African negro, who may 
possibly think he is listening to the voice of divine infalli- 
bility — we are expected to believe and to receive without 
question the statement that the supremacy of the Imperial 
Parliament is not impaired in the smallest degree ! There 
is another aspect, looking at the scheme as a whole, in 
which it is most strangely illogical. You find, if you look at 
the scheme carefully, an enormous amount of giving with one 
hand and taking away with the other. You find the most 
curious manifestation of exuberant confidence combined simul- 
taneously with the manifestation of the most profound distrust. 
We are told to trust Ireland, and yet the Government tells us 
that Ireland is so irritated, so estranged from, so hostile to this 
country, that the very fact of that hostility forces us to give her 
this new Irish Government with an independent Parliament ! 
Could there be a stronger exhibition of confidence when Ireland 
is in such a frame of mind ? and ought not that perfect confidence 
to carry with it logically almost everything else that can be con- 
ceived ? But what do we find ? It really appears to me, if I 
may say it without rousing the impatience of hon. members 
below the gangway, that if I were an Irishman, looking at the 
scheme from a patriotic point of view as they claim to do, I 
could not help feeling that the honour and dignity of my coun- 
try, which had asserted its right and won its claim to have an 
independent Pailiament, was deeply wounded and affronted by 
the fact that this independent Parliament, under this Magna 
Charta of my country's liberties, was not to be trusted to deal 
with any matter arising out of several specified and most impor- 
tant points. It is not to be trusted to deal with any of the laws 
relating to trade and navigation. That would seem to betray 
ignorance of Irish history on the part of the Government. The 
cause of almost every dispute that arose between the Irish and 
the British Parliaments during the last five hundred years was 
the right claimed by the latter to legislate on matters relating 
to trade and navigation in Ireland ; and it was that ques- 
tion, perhaps, more than anything else, that led to the move- 
ment of 1781. It was the concession of that right which 
procured the independence of the G rattan Parliament in 1782. 
VOL. JI. I) 


Notwithstanding that the Government had this historical know- 
ledge before them, they deliberately refuse to trust the Irish 
Parliament with the control of any single matter relating to 
trade and navigation. What would be the effect of this ? The 
principal exports of Ireland are cattle, sheep, and pigs ; bat if 
it were reported that pleuro-pneumonia or foot-and-mouth dis- 
ease existed in Ireland, the British Government, under the new 
law, would be able to prohibit the export of any cattle from 
Ireland into England — an act which would probably bring im- 
mediate ruin to a large number of Irish farmers ; and yet not 
a single Irish member would be able in any way to raise his 
voice against that act, or to give the Government representative 
information on the subject. 

I now come to the last point relating to the Irish Parliament 
— I mean the question of Ulster. Some people call it loyal 
Ulster, some Protestant Ulster, but all will call it prosperous 
Ulster. I think that, looking at it from the revenue point of 
view alone, I should be justified in calling Ulster the heart of 
Ireland. Hon. members below the gangway cheer ironically; 
but I wish to know whether, in their opinion, the Irish Govern- 
ment would be able to pay their way if Ulster were withdrawn 
from the jurisdiction of the Irish Parliament. But, positively, 
we are informed that the Government have not been able to 
come to a decision as to the fate of Ulster — it is left, as the 
Prime Minister said, for careful, unprejudiced future considera- 
tion. The fate of Ulster is left to the scramble of Committee. 
Although the Government have pondered over this matter for 
weeks, and although they have had every kind of information 
before them, they have been unable to arrive at a conclusion on 
the subject. That is one of the most convincing proofs of the 
almost hopelessly insoluble character of this problem of Home 

Finally, I ask the House to consider how the measure is 
proposed, and in what manner it comes before us. The Prime 
Minister said on Thursday that it would be necessary to place 
this proposal for extensive change on the most broad and solid 
grounds. In that we all agree ; but what were the grounds which 
were put forward by the Prime Minister as broad and solid ? If 


we judge them solely by the wealth of eloquence, exposition, and 
illustration with which they were presented, then I admit their 
claim to breadth and solidity; but if we strip them of their 
rhetorical ornamentations and analyse them as they stand by 
themselves, then I think the House will be surprised to find 
how incredibly slender they are on which to base so vast an 
organic change. The right hon. gentleman put forward four 
grounds in support of his proposal. The first was the non- 
renewal of the Crimes Act by the late Government. That 
ground particularly recommends itself to the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, 1 1 know. (The Chancellor of the Exchequer : ' Yes.' 
Cheers and laughter.) Heaven forbid that I should weary the 
House by re-opening that endless controversy ! I will content 
myself with one remark. The Prime Minister said the fact that 
that Act was not renewed was one of immeasurable historical sig- 
nificance. But why was it of more historical significance than the 
fact that the right hon. gentleman's Government did not renew 
the Crimes Act which expired in 1880 ? Why was our action 
in not renewing the Act in 1885 of such historical significance 
that you were to base the Repeal of the Union upon it, when 
your conduct in not renewing the Act in 1880 was of no signi- 
ficance whatever? The second ground put forward by the 
right hon. gentleman is stronger — it is the presence in this 
House of 86 members belonging to the Irish National party. 
In the first place, it does not appear to be absolutely demon- 
strated why 86 members should on any single proposition 
prevail over the voices of 581 members. In the second place, 
while T fully admit to any extent within reason the formidable 
character of that party, and the power which it can exercise in 
the Imperial Parliament, I take leave to doubt the permanence 
of that formidable character. Any study of Irish history will 
show that no Irish political party has ever held together for long. 
Resistance to any Irish political party has always strained it, 
and has ultimately destroyed it. I take the party of Mr. 
(yConnell in 1835. Nothing could have appeared more formid- 
able than that party at that time ; and yet it broke up, and Mr. 
CConnell died abroad, as some said, of a broken heart. Then 

1 Sir W. Harcourt. 

i) 2 


take the party of Mr. Butt. In 1874 he came back to Parlia- 
ment nominally at the head of a party 50 or 60 strong, and the 
hon. member for Cork can tell the House what the fate of that 
party was. I had the honour of knowing Mr. Butt personally. 
I saw him not long before he died, and I can affirm that he, 
like Mr. O'Connell, died in the deepest distress of mind with 
regard to the political fate of his party. I now take what I will 
call the first party of the hon. member for Cork, which made its 
appearance in 1880. Before that Parliament met that party 
came together and elected the hon. member for Cork to be their 
leader. (Mr. Parnell : ' After Mr. Butt's death/) Yes, and 
they came back to this Parliament apparently united, and num- 
bering some sixty votes. But the Parliament had not been 
six months in session before that party was sharply divided — 
and sharply divided it remained during the whole of the last 
Parliament. The present party of the hon. member for Cork is 
a formidable and numerous party ; but it seems to me that the 
hon. member for Cork is himself aware of the great danger of 
disunion, because he has taken a step hitherto unknown to the 
Parliamentary life of the United Kingdom. Every member of 
the hon. member's party takes a solemn and binding pledge that 
he will vote in a particular manner. (Cries of ' No ' from some 
Irish members.) Hon. members will have an opportunity of 
answering me if I am wrong ; but, speaking from the knowledge 
which I possess, I affirm that a pledge never given before has 
been given by every Irish member ; and the fact that such a 
pledge has been exacted makes it impossible to suppose that the 
party of the hon. member for Cork is free from the hereditary 
tendency to disunion. That party has not yet been tried. It 
has only just appeared, and I cannot admit that the mere 
clamour of this party in Parliament is sufficient, before they 
have even formulated any clear demands, to cause the fabric of 
that Union which was constructed by Mr. Pitt, and which has 
been maintained without alteration by every succeeding Minis- 
ter down to the present day, to fall to pieces as the walls of 
Jericho fell before the migrating masses of the Jews. 

The third ground upon which the Prime Minister based his 
proposal was undoubtedly original. He based his third argu- 


ment for repeal upon the existence of St. George's Channel. I 
remember an occasion some time ago when the Prime M inister 
visited Ireland, and when I had the honour of being presented 
to him. I remember that the weather was boisterous and 
tempestuous, and the right hon. gentleman had most excellent 
reasons for conceiving an undying animosity against St. George's 
Channel, and for making it, as it were, the scapegoat of his 
future Irish policy. I may remind the House that there have 
been many and long debates about the principle of the Union, 
when every argument for and against it has been used ; but this 
is the very first time when the argument of geography has been 
summoned to the aid of Repeal. The Prime Minister has con- 
verted the geographical argument from a weapon of defence, 
which it has hitherto always been in the hands of Unionists, 
into a weapon of offence. If the House will recollect the 
difficulties which attended the transit between Dublin and 
London in the year 1800, when it took a man sometimes six weeks 
to make the journey, and compare them with the ease and the 
rapidity of the transit now, hon. members will be slow to admit 
that the arguments which were good enough for the construction 
of the Union in 1800 have been weakened by the invention of 
the steam-engine, the railway, and the telegraph. But the 
fourth ground taken up by the Prime Minister was the most 
curious of all. He said that we could not govern Ireland any 
longer because our law was discredited in that country, and 
reached the Irish people in a foreign aspect and a foreign 
garb. It is sad to hear the Prime Minister of this country pro- 
claim that the Irish are alien to the English and Scotch, and that 
the English and Scotch are alien to the Irish. The First Lord 
of the Treasury was in Parliament when Lord Lyndhurst de- 
nounced the Irish as aliens in race, religion, and language ; and 
when Mr. Sheil in this House, pointing to Lord Lyndhurst 
sitting under the gallery, created the most extraordinary scene, 
speaking on behalf of the whole Irish nation, by repudiating with 
the utmost vigour the construction which was then put upon Lord 
Lyndhurst's words, and which I can now legitimately draw from 
the arguments of the Prime Minister. But is it not still more 
melancholy when the First Minister of the Crown, who makes this 


despairing confession, is one who has striven for so many years to 
remove all grounds of alienation ? Is not this the most complete 
confession of utter and hopeless failure of efforts which may be 
called without exaggeration the efforts of a lifetime ? If the 
confession were limited merely to a confession it would be sad 
enough, but when it is accompanied by a new policy it is a con- 
fession of a nature to cause the House to pause. The Prime 
Minister seemed to me to forget how fatal a confession it was 
for his own proposal. In what aspect and in what garb will 
this Magna Charta go to Ireland? Surely, it will have the 
same aspect and the same garb which the Prime Minister ascribes 
to the measures for municipal reform, Parliamentary reform, the 
disestablishment of the Irish Church, and for the alteration of 
the land laws, all of which, the Prime Minister tells us, are dis- 
credited in Ireland. Assuming that the present Bill were to 
pass into law, the relations between the two countries would 
depend upon the faithful execution of the compact ; but, according 
to the Prime Minister, speaking with an experience of fifty yeare, 
this Magna Charta is likely to be discredited and repudiated be- 
cause it goes to Ireland in a foreign aspect and foreign garb. These 
were the four main grounds put forward by the Prime Minister. 
But the Chief Secretary 1 supplied a fifth. He said, ' If yon 
reject this Bill and turn us out of office you will be doing that 
which the desperadoes whom you fear most desire.' He intimated 
that the consequences would be a no-rent manifesto, dynamite 
explosions, and a great outbreak of crime and outrage. That 
is a tremendous intimation made by a Minister of the Crown 
responsible for the government of Ireland. The very fact of 
such an intimation being made might be held by ill-disposed 
persons to justify the fulfilment of the prophecy. Not only 
might it be so held by ill-disposed persons, but it might to some 
extent lead the House to the conclusion that what the Prime 
Minister called the motor muscle of the policy now before the 
House is fear of these things, and that the Magna Charta which 
is to have such beneficent effects on the future of Ireland — this 
Magna Charta in the disguise of an act of grace — is in reality 
an act of terror. This prophecy of the right hon. gentleman 
1 Mr. John Morley. 


having been made to the House of Commons, and having been 
made a ground for passing this Bill, just let me for a moment 
deal with it. Let us see if these dangers are so very alarming 
that they ought in any way to influence our actions. Are these 
new dangers ? Has the House of Commons had no experience 
of them ? Have we never known of a ' no-rent manifesto ' ? 
Why, the First Lord of the Treasury himself had to encounter 
a no-rent manifesto in 1881, and the statesman 1 whose body 
on Friday last passed through Westminster Abbey on the way 
to its grave in the North encountered successfully a no-rent 
manifesto. Well, sir, let us deal with dynamite explosions. 
Have we had no experience of dynamite explosions? I see 
sitting opposite me the right hon. and learned gentleman the 
member for Bury, 2 who can tell the House that, with regard to 
dynamite explosions, we certainly were most providentially and 
almost miraculously preserved from an awful disaster. But the 
dynamiters, the people who were inculpated in these atrocities, 
are now undergoing what has been called a living death. Well, 
sir, an outburst of crime and outrage — has the House had no 
experience of that ? I always understood that it was one of the 
great glories of the Government — of Lord Spencer — that he 
rapidly, successfully, and summarily put down a great outburst 
of crime and outrage in Ireland. Then, sir, as to assassination. 
I cannot forget that assassination in 1882 cost Ireland the life 
of one of her most faithful sons, and the House of Commons the 
life of one of its most valuable and respected members. 3 But, 
sir, the House of Commons ought not to be influenced with 
regard to its fiiture policy by any such arguments. Assassina- 
tion is one of the rarest incidents of modem political life. It 
used to be a common method of political warfare ; but the 
growth and progress of civilisation have demonstrated its utter 
folly and inutility. A man in public life ought not to be de- 
terred from any public action by the knowledge that by some 
mischance some day or other he might be the mark of a lunatic 
or criminal, any more than anybody contemplating a railway 
journey would be deterred by the fear of an accident. Therefore, 

1 Mr. Forster. 2 Sir Henry James. 

• Mr. Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish. 


of all the grounds of policy put forward in support of this Bill, 
the ground advanced by the Chief Secretary I consider to be 
the weakest of all. There is only one argument for this policy 
which has any claim to breadth and solidity, and that is the 
argument that this measure has been produced by the Govern- 
ment of the Queen, of which the right hon. gentleman the 
member for Mid-Lothian is the head. That is an argument the 
breadth and solidity of which I am not prepared to recognise ; 
but I do recognise the enormous advantage which is given to 
the Irish National party. I consider it to have been my good 
fortune to have heard and to have read many speeches and 
orations of the Prime Minister, with regard to Ireland. Many 
of his most confident predictions, vaticinations and declarations 
are fresh in my mind. I have been more than once under 
what may be called the wand of the magician, and I know of no 
experience to which I can compare it except perhaps the taking 
of morphia. The sensations, while the operation is going on, are 
transcendent, but the recovery is bitter beyond conception. Well, 
sir, bringing the light of my experience of these declarations 
and vaticinations to bear on this policy, I challenge any one 
of the most devoted admirers or of the most ardent supporters of 
the Prime Minister to point out one single prediction of his with 
regard to Ireland which has been verified, or one single declara- 
tion of his which has been maintained. But if the light of 
that experience is not bright enough for us, if our blindness 
requires that the darkness of the future should be illumined 
by some friendly flash of light, I find the warning beacon in the 
speech of the Chief Secretary on Friday night. In alluding to 
the reminiscence called up by the right hon. member for West 
Birmingham l in regard to an expression of opinion by the Prime 
Minister at Newcastle many years ago, that Jefferson Davis had 
made a nation — the Chief Secretary admitted the error, but 
chided the cruelty of the recollection — and declared that in his 
opinion, speaking as an historian, history would deal leniently 
with the error of the Prime Minister, because when the annals 
of the century came to be written, they would show that in 
Italy, in Bulgaria, and also in Ireland the Prime Minister had 
1 Mr. Chamberlain. 


made nations. That describes exactly the position which the 
opponents of this Bill take up. We believe that if this measure 
passes into law, when the history of this century comes to be 
written — and it may not be many years hence, some of us even 
may live to read it — the result of this act will be decided to be 
that, as is the position of Italy towards Austria having been freed 
from the yoke of the Austrian — as is the position of Bulgaria 
towards Turkey having been freed from the yoke of the Sultan — 
so is the position of Ireland towards Great Britain having been 
freed from the supremacy of Parliament and from the sovereignty 
of the Queen. For my own part, I confidently declare I shall 
cheerfully raise my voice and give my vote against a policy which 
has, in my opinion, been unconstitutionally sprung upon an 
unprepared, an unwarned, and a justly startled people — against 
a measure so desperate and so insane. 


Paddington, June 26, 1886. 

[This speech was delivered shortly after the rejection of Mr. 
Gladstone's Home Rule Bill, on its second reading, by a majority 
of 30 (June 7). It presented an analysis of the Irish question from 
an historical point of view, and although some abridgment is indis- 
pensable here, the main portions of the argument are preserved. The 
results of the general election which followed in July are summar- 
ised in the general introduction to this work.] 

PARLIAMENT has been to-day dissolved ; that Parliament 
which you took your part in electing in November last ; that 
Parliament which fully, more fully than any former Parliament, 
represented the British democracy ; that Parliament from which 
you justly expected so much, after a few weeks' existence has 
been scattered to the winds ; and again you are called upon, in 
the exercise of the highest rights of citizenship, to take your 
part in electing a new Parliament. Mr. Gladstone has dissolved 
Parliament, and he has appealed to the nation. He has put a 
question to the country — a question which you, in common with 
the five million voters of the United Kingdom, are called upon 
to answer. Mr. Gladstone says of that question that it raises 
the simplest issue which was ever put before the people. That 
is the only opinion during the whole of this controversy which 
Mr. Gladstone has uttered in which I entirely agree with him. 
It is, gentlemen, I assure you, the simplest issue — intensely 
grave, intensely momentous — on the decision of which the 
destinies of empires hang ; but it is a simple question. It may 
be put in many ways with equal simplicity. You may put it 
in this way. Will you, the electors of Great Britain, who are 
now entrusted with supreme political power, maintain in its 


present form, with all its present attributes, and in all its present 
aight and majesty, the Imperial Parliament of your country, 
•r will you break it up ? Will you divide it into two parts ? 
Vill you create another Parliament, which may be subordinate 
>r co-ordinate, as the case may be, and will you remove a por- 
ion, and an essential portion, of the Queen's dominions from 
mder the supremacy of your ancient Imperial Parliament? 
Tiat is one way of putting the question. You may put it in 
nother way. Will you maintain the effective, practical unity 
f the United Kingdom, or will you divide the United Kingdom 
nto two, as a house may be divided against itself? That is 
nother way, and an equally simple way, of putting the question. 
"here is yet a third way. Will you maintain your present 
rrangement of one supreme executive Government, responsible 
o one supreme legislative body for the whole of the United 
kingdom, or will you have two executive Governments, indepen- 
lent of each other, in all probability opposed to each other — 
ertainly rivals, and responsible to two separate legislative 
odies ? Now these are all simple ways of putting this simple 
uestion, upon which the country has to decide. And, for my 
wn part, I confess freely that I cannot understand how any 
oman being possessing an ordinary modicum of rational intelli- 
Bnce can have the smallest doubt as to how that simple ques- 
ion ought to be answered ; but, unfortunately, we have to do 
rith a man who, although he states the country has to decide 
q a simple issue, uses his extraordinary powers of argument and 
aetoric for the purpose of confusing that issue, for the purpose 
f bewildering the mind of the country, and for the purpose of 
eeping back from the people the real nature of the issue which 
\ submitted to them. That is the danger of the present 
olitical situation. The great authority on this matter, the 
lan who appeals to the confidence of his country, the man who 
lys he trusts his countrymen, and who denounces and despises 
is opponents for not trusting his countrymen — that man above 
II others leaves no artifice unresorted to for concealing the real 
ruth of the matter from the mind of the country. 

Now, how does Mr. Gladstone put this great question to the 
)untry ? These are practically the words in which he appeals 


to the constituencies — this is the manner in which he pats this 
simple question ; and I pray your best attention. 4 Will yoa 
allow Ireland to manage exclusively Irish affairs by herself in 
her own way, and for her own interest, without being inter- 
fered with and overridden by England and by Scotland ? ' Mr. 
Gladstone adds that if you do not answer that question in the 
affirmative, there is only one alternative and no other : that yoa 
must have twenty years of what he calls Cromwell ian coercion 
in Ireland. He says that it will not be any use to resort to 
what he calls ' bastard coercion.' Well, now, bastard coercion is 
a very ugly phrase ; but what does 4 bastard coercion ' mean ? It 
merely means this — that in Ireland, as in every other portion of 
the civilised world, if certain persons choose to resort to murder, 
to assassination, to robbery, and to intimidation, those persons 
shall be brought to justice. That is all that it means. But 
Mr. Gladstone says that he will have no more of that. That, 
says Mr. Gladstone, is a bastard coercion ; 4 the only alternative 
to my policy is what I call Cromwellian coercion/ That is a 
startling statement, and it is very easy to use adjectives. 
People condemn me for using adjectives, but I never use an 
adjective without thinking of the meaning of that adjective. 
Let us examine this adjective Cromwellian, which he applies to 
coercion. Cromwellian coercion in Ireland means the method 
of governing Ireland which was pursued by Oliver Cromwell, 
the Lord Protector. What was that method ? It was a method 
of governing Ireland by the utter and total extermination of 
the Celtic peasantry by massacre and by starvation. That was 
the deliberate object which the Lord Protector Cromwell put 
before himself when he went into Ireland to suppress Irish 
disaffection. But it was not original on the part of the Lord 
Protector. That was the method which had been tried by 
Queen Elizabeth when she suppressed the rebellion of the great 
Irish earls. It was the extermination utter and complete of 
the Celtic peasantry by massacre and by starvation. Mark you, 
Mr. Gladstone deliberately states in this nineteenth century 
that the only alternative to his statutory Parliament in Dublin, 
if you refuse to grant that Parliament, will be Cromwellian 
and Elizabethan coercion. That is the adjective Cromwellian 


examined. What can be the condition of mind of a statesman 
who comes before his countrymen and says, ' If you do not 
adopt my method of governing Ireland there is nothing for 
you to do but to exterminate the Irish people ? ? 

So much for the alternative coercive policy ; and now if we 
go back to Mr. Gladstone's own policy — that Ireland is to manage 
exclusively Irish affairs by herself, in her own way, and in her 
own interests, without being interfered with or overridden by 
England or by Scotland — I do not suppose it is possible to put- 
before the English people a more confused and complicated 
proposition. The question instantly arises, What is Ireland, 
and what are Irish affairs ? I believe I am accurate in saying 
this, that there is no important political affair which can be 
legitimately or accurately called an exclusively Irish affair. The 
relations between Great Britain and Ireland are so close, they 
are so based on the arrangements and the customs of so many 
hundreds of years, that there is no Irish affair which could 
be dealt with by an Irish body that would not more or less 
directly affect British affairs and interests. However, leaving 
that point for a moment — the definition of Irish affairs — let us 
examine the question, What is Ireland ? Ireland is an island. 
That may seem a truism, but it is absolutely necessary for me to 
lay that down at starting, for I believe that if Mr. Gladstone 
were to say to-morrow that Ireland is not an island, the whole 
of his followers would passionately repeat that Ireland was not 
an island, that it never had been an island, and that anybody 
who said it was an island was a liar and a slanderer, who ought 
to be immediately turned out of Parliament. Therefore I will 
lay that down at starting. I take it out of the range of Mr. 
Gladstone's destructive oratory. Ireland is separated from this 
country by a channel which at its narrowest part only measures 
fifteen miles. That geographical fact utterly disposes of all the 
analogies for purposes of constructive politics which are some- 
times drawn from the case of Canada, which is distant from this 
country 3,000 miles, and from the case of Australia, which is 
distant from this country nearly 12,000 miles. It disposes of 
the ingenious analogy which one of the leading speakers on the 
part of the Government drew between Iceland and its relations to 


Denmark, and Ireland and its relation to England. Iceland is 
distant from Denmark 1,200 miles, and you may as profitably 
say that the only difference between Ireland and Iceland is the 
difference between the consonant * c ' and the consonant c r,' as 
to argue, for political purposes, that the distance of 1,200 miles 
is exactly the same as a distance of fifteen miles. Therefore I 
utterly put aside for all practical purposes the analogy which 
Government speakers draw from Canada, from Australia, and from 
Iceland. What is the population of Ireland ? That is extremely 
important. The population of Ireland is very curiously com- 
posed. There is no analogy that I know of between the popu- 
lation of Ireland and the population of any other distinct com- 
munity in the world. In Ireland we have, in the first place, a 
population divided into two most important classes. We have 
a gentry mainly Protestant, owners of the land mainly of 
Anglo-Saxon extraction, and with that gentry we have a power- 
ful class of persons engaged in commerce who are also mainly 
Protestant, and mainly of Anglo-Saxon extraction. We find 
as a second class the peasantry, almost entirely Catholic, and 
largely of Celtic origin. That is one extraordinary peculiarity 
about Ireland. I know no analogy for it in any other country 
in the world. In Ireland we have no large or powerful middle 
class. It would be impossible to describe what the middle 
class of England has done for England. The middle class of 
England has sustained England through many great national 
perils. The middle class of England has carried the English 
Government forward on a path of progress and reform. But 
more than that : the middle class of England, by its power, by 
its spreading branches in all directions, and by its gradations, 
has fused into one great harmonious whole the classes who are 
able by their circumstances in life to enjoy themselves at leisure 
and the classes who are compelled by their circumstances of life 
to depend upon daily labour. It has made the English nation 
one great united indivisible community. Remember this when 
thinking about Ireland — there is there no great, powerful middle 
class. For political purposes, that element does not exist. 
Therefore in Ireland we find the gentry and the persons who 
are engaged in commerce, who are the possessors of the wealth 


>f Ireland, and who are extremely powerful from their history, 
ind from their traditions, and their position ; and in the next 
dace, sharply opposed to them, we find the Catholic peasantry, 
rho are extremely powerful from one point of view — that of 
lumbers. They outnumber the former class in the proportion 
>f three or four to one. That is the composition of the popula- 
ion of Ireland ; and we must not forget that the first class — 
he gentry, and the persons who are engaged in commerce — 
xe those who have generally been known to us as the English 
garrison in Ireland. 

Now up to the time of the Union those two forces were sharply 
livided from each other. They were animated towards each 
*her by the bitterest hostility and the most intense animosity. 
Jp to the time of the Legislative Union there was in Ireland 
constantly recurring civil war, or commotions which almost at- 
iained to the dignity of civil war ; but since the Legislative Union 
ihese two classes have been gradually coming together, gradually 
approaching each other. There has been since that union no civil 
«rar in Ireland, or anything approaching civil war. We have had 
!rom time to time disturbances in parts of Ireland, sporadic 
igrarian agitation, accompanied by outbursts of crime of a very 
serious nature ; but the moment the British Government has 
pat out its arm these outbursts of crime have speedily dis- 
appeared. We have had nothing since the time of the Legisla- 
tive Union approaching to the civil commotion that existed 
before that time. [Here followed some quotations from Mr. 
Sladstone's speeches in support of this position, and Lord 
Randolph then continued: — ] I have quoted the opinions of 
Mr. Gladstone at two great crises of Irish history in order to 
rapport my assertion that since the Union there has been an 
mprovement in the social condition of Ireland, and that the 
mo great parties in the population who had been so sharply 
livided were coming together. And why ? What was the 
sflect of the Legislative Union ? We brought over the Par- 
iamentary representatives of these two great classes of the 
population, and mixed them up in Westminster with our 
English, Scotch, and Welsh representatives, who together formed 
i great mediating influence and a great balancing power, which 


prevented these two classes of the population from tyrannising 
over and oppressing each other. That was the real effect of 
the Legislative Union of Mr. Pitt. The balancing power was 
provided between two great opposing forces in Ireland, and the 
constant effect of that power, used with patience and perse- 
verance, was to fuse these two classes into one. What is the 
proposal that Mr. Gladstone now makes to the country ? He 
proposes to abolish and remove that great balancing power, 
that impartial judgment — to take the Irish members away from 
the influence of the English, Scotch, and Welsh members, and 
to send them back to their own country. And in reality this 
is the meaning of Mr. Gladstone's policy — to go back to the 
state of things which existed at the time of the Union, to 
remove the great buffer which exists between these two great 
powerful forces in Ireland, and to leave them face to face with 
each other. That is the meaning of the expression that Ireland 
is to manage her own affairs exclusively. 

The question arises, What do you mean by Ireland managing 
her own affairs ? Do you mean the Protestant gentry, the 
Protestant commercial classes, or do you mean the Catholic 
peasantry ? Instantly the problem arises. It is no good to 
talk in this general way about Ireland managing her own 
affairs. If you are practical Englishmen you must examine 
what this means. Remember that it is absolutely impossible, 
if we withdraw our controlling, our mediating, and our 
balancing influence over these two forces, for them to unite 
together. They never can. You might just as well try to mix 
oil and water. Either one or the other will get the upper hand, 
and in either case you will have injustice, oppression, tyranny, 
and national misery. But it is really hard upon us that we 
should have to decide this question. One would think it was a 
new question — that it had never been presented to the English 
people before. The question has been presented to our fore- 
fathers before on two great occasions. Two hundred years ago 
the English tried the experiment of governing Ireland mainly 
by the Catholic classes of that country. The Parliament of 
Tyrconnel, the Parliament of James the Second, had a splendid 
chance of seizing hold upon the affections and the loyalty of the 


Irish people. If the Parliament of Tyrconnel — which was a 
Catholic Parliament, which represented almost exclusively the 
Catholic population — if that Parliament had been animated by a 
spark of justice or a spark of wisdom or of common sense, the 
battle of the Boyne would in all probability never have been 
fought; but it was because that Parliament excelled every 
legislative assembly the world has ever seen in tyranny, in op- 
pression, in injustice, and in cruelty, that the North of Ireland 
rebelled against that Parliament of Tyrconnel, which tried to 
put down the North of Ireland, and sent forth its armies, over- 
ran the North of Ireland, and oppressed the North of Ireland 
with military cruelty of every kind. But the city of London- 
deny held out. It resisted ; and the North of Ireland called in 
William of Orange, and he came over to Ireland, he fought the 
battle of the Boyne, he swept away the Parliament of Tyrconnel, 
and he brought on that Catholic Celtic Parliament the fate it 
richly merited. Therefore our forefathers tried in Ireland two 
hundred years ago the experiment of governing Ireland by a 
Celtic Parliament, and that experiment utterly failed and broke 
down. What succeeded it? It was attempted to govern 
Ireland by a Government of Anglo-Saxon Protestants ; a Pro- 
testant Parliament was established in Ireland, and with it at the 
same time a purely British Government. How did that experi- 
ment succeed ? It succeeded indifferently well as long as the 
Protestant Parliament of Ireland was not a real Parliament, as 
long as it was kept in complete subjection and had little real 
Parliamentary power; but from the year 1782, when England, 
at a moment of great national calamity and danger, was not 
able to resist the demands of the Protestant Parliament, and 
gave to it full and complete Parliamentary independence — from 
that year 1782 to the year 1800 the experiment of governing 
Ireland by an Anglo-Saxon Protestant Parliament utterly failed 
and broke down, so great was the incapacity and the incompe- 
tence and the bigotry of the Parliament of Grattan. There was 
never a greater delusion or a more false historical statement 
than to say that the Parliament of Grattan was a Parliament of 
religious tolerance. It passed Catholic emancipation, because 
that was absolutely forced on the Irish Parliament by the 
VOL. TL £ 


British Government, and one of the great reasons which induced 
Mr. Pitt to favour the Union was because he knew that tiU that 
Parliament was abolished there would be no religious toleration 
in Ireland ; so that the real reason and cause of the Legislative 
Union of Mr. Pitt was the incapacity and incompetence for the 
government of Ireland and for the protection of Ireland which 
was displayed by the Anglo-Saxon Protestant Parliament — an 
incapacity and incompetence which culminated in the bloody 
rebellion of 1798. People talk about the fraud, and the force, 
and the bribery which carried the Union. They were small 
causes, they were the oil on the wheels which made the project 
go through. The real cause was the fearful and bloody rebellion 
of 1798 and the terror of French invasion, both of which 
dangers the Anglo-Saxon Parliament was utterly unable to cope 
with. This is an historical aspect of the question which Mr. 
Gladstone never glances at. 

Mr. Gladstone proposes to recur to the experiment of 
governing Ireland by the Celtic Catholics. He proposes to place 
the government of Ireland in the hands of the Celtic Catholic 
peasantry of Ireland ; because, mark you, Mr. Gladstone's Ire- 
land is the Ireland of the National League, and the National 
League, if it represents anything at all except crime and outrage 
and terror, if it has any popular element about it at all, repre- 
sents the Catholic agricultural Celtic peasantry of Ireland. The 
argument which I wish to bring before you is this : if governing 
by Protestant ascendancy — which after all was governing Ire- 
land by the wealthy, loyal, and educated classes — if that system 
of government utterly broke down, utterly failed, and to such an 
extent that in order to preserve our national existence we had 
to put a stop to it and to abolish it — if that was so, what is 
likely to be the result of government by Catholic ascendancy, 
which means government placed in the hands of the Celtic 
Catholic peasantry, possessing many fine qualities, but? at the 
same time imperfectly educated, prone to superstition, a peasantry, 
moreover, which for a time has placed itself under the guidance 
of American adventurers, and which has for a time abandoned 
itself to the control of an unenlightened priesthood ? We have 
tried the one and the other, and we are asked to go back 


to an experiment made two hundred years ago. If our Pro- 
testant Government failed, is our Catholic Government likely 
to succeed? One or the other of these classes must govern 
Ireland if we come away. One or the other must have the 
upper hand. It must either be the Celtic Catholics or the 
Anglo-Saxon Protestants. They cannot possibly unite if they 
are left alone. We are told, and I entirely agree in the injunc- 
tion, that we must not infuse religious bigotry into this question. 
God forbid that I should infuse religious bigotry into Ireland ! 
There is plenty of religious bigotry in Ireland already, and the 
one thing which keeps down religious bigotry, which restrains it, 
which prevents its running to most frightful excesses, is the 
power of the Union and the power of the Imperial Parliament. 
In bringing before you the actuai state of affairs, the true 
state of affairs in Ireland, I am not infusing religious bigotry 
into the question. I admire, I respect the Catholics of 
Ireland. I believe that the Catholics of Ireland, under good 
guidance, if they were let alone and had fair treatment, 
would be the most loyal of all the Queen's subjects. I respect 
the Protestants of Ireland, I respect their history, I respect 
their services and their loyalty to this country under immense 
difficulties ; and in dwelling upon the fact that these two classes 
form the population of Ireland, I am not infusing religious 
bigotry into the Irish question. I am doing that which I 
respectfully ask you to do, and which Mr. Gladstone and his 
colleagues refuse to do — looking facts in the face. That is the 
great fact about Ireland, the fact which overwhelms the whole 
of this question — the unbridgeable chasm which exists in 
Ireland between two large portions of the population, the 
Anglo-Saxon Protestant and the Celtic Catholic. That is the 
Irish question. You have heard of the Irish question from 
time immemorial. Ever since we began to study politics we 
have heard of the Irish question. That is the Irish question, 
and there is no other. I recently was told by an Irish judge of 
an occasion some twenty years ago when Mr. Disraeli, in the 
course of a stormy Irish debate, taunted by Irish members 
with remaining silent, at length rose and with great gravity 
said, "The Irish question is insoluble.' Then he sat down. 

B 2 


Mr. Disraeli meant that the Irish question was insoluble by 
Parliamentary debate or rapid legislation. But it is not in reality 
insoluble. It only demands from you the qualities of patience 
and perseverance. The great solution of the Irish question is 
the efflux of time. What is Mr. Gladstone's present demand to 
Englishmen and Scotchmen ? That they should give up alto- 
gether the struggle upon which they have been so long engaged, 
and that they should proclaim to the world their impotence to 
govern this island of Ireland with its five million population. 
That is the demand. We govern India, we govern Australia, we 
govern Canada, we govern altogether three hundred millions of 
mankind, and Mr. Gladstone demands that we shall proclaim to 
the whole civilised world that the Anglo-Saxon race are unable to 
govern with any approach to decency or tranquillity five millions 
of the Irish people. And mark you, gentlemen, it is worse than 
that. Among the five millions of people whom Mr. Gladstone 
calls upon us to declare our inability to govern are no le* 
than two millions who cling to ns with a tenacity which 
surpasses loyalty, and who call upon us under no circum- 
stances to surrender them to their foes. Positively it comes to 
this — that thirty millions of the inhabitants of Great Britain 
added to two millions of the inhabitants of Ireland are, if 
they yield to Mr. Gladstone's demands, to proclaim to the world 
their utter impotence to bring peace or tranquillity or prosperity 
to the remaining three millions of the Irish people. Was there 
ever a more ludicrous or absurd proposition ? It only requires 
to be looked at in the right way. Mr. Gladstone asks us to 
abandon altogether, confessing our hopeless failure, the effort 
which for eighty-five years has been in operation, of holding the 
balance, the peaceful and tranquillising balance, between the 
two great forces of the population which I have described. 
On that effort we and our forefathers have spent millions of 
British taxes ; to that effort our Parliament has devoted weeks, 
months, sessions, years of its time, years of its industry and 
application ; to that effort many of our brightest and best 
statesmen have devoted — ay, some even have sacrificed — their 
lives : but our millions are to be thrown away utterly ; the 
labours of our Parliament are to be treated as if they had never 


been ; the lives of our best statesmen are to have been in vain ; 
all that effort, and all its results are to be abandoned. That is 
what Mr. Gladstone demands. Was there ever such a demand 
made upon the people before ? And what to my mind makes 
it all the more disgraceful and despicable — this demand is 
made, in all human probability, just at the moment when we 
are on the eve of a great and notorious success. For eighty-five 
years we have laboured, and we have poured out on Ireland 
all that we possess of common-sense, of wisdom, of liberality, of 
benevolence, and generosity. The seed has been sown ; the 
seed is struggling up among the stones, the boulders, and the 
rocks of faction and prejudice in Ireland, and with a modicum 
of patience we should reap a harvest the bounty of which you 
have no idea of. Bub we are asked now, on the eve of success, 
as I believe from my knowledge of Ireland, to fling away all 
that chance of success, to give it up for ever, and to treat Ire- 
land as if our work had never taken place. We are passing 
through a very great crisis in the history of Ireland and Eng- 
land; but if that crisis is safely passed, if these wild demands 
are firmly resisted, if the English people show only a percent- 
age of the dogged perseverance of their forefathers, I am certain 
as I stand here that there lies before us an ocean of smooth 
sailing, of calm waters, and an era of peaceful and tranquil pro- 
gress in Ireland. 

We are told that the Legislative Union has been an utter 
failure. I deny that proposition. To judge of its merits you 
must compare it with the Government of the Celtic Catholic 
Parliament, and also of the Protestant Parliament. So com- 
pared, instead of being a failure, it has been a conspicuous and 
glorious success. The government of Ireland by any method 
which human ingenuity can conceive has been, and will always 
be, a work of marvellous difficulty ; but it has surely progressed, 
and Ireland has increased since the Union more rapidly in 
material prosperity than England or Scotland. If Lord Clare, 
the great champion of the Union, could come to life, he would 
indeed be surprised at the different appearanee and state of 
the country now to what it was after a hundred years of the 
Protestant Parliament in Ireland. I know Ireland well, I have 


lived for some years there, and have travelled in almost every 
county. You would be surprised if you could have any idea 
of its material prosperity. Compared with the state of the rural 
districts in England, I am certain that your verdict would be 
that the prosperity in most parts of Ireland is greater than that 
of England. There are parts of Ireland inhabited by a pauper 
population — a result springing from no fault of any political 
system, but from causes beyond the control of any political 
system — parts of Munster and Connaught where there is over- 
population, a tempestuous climate, and an ungrateful soil, all 
those constituting a disease which no political remedy can cure. 
But it is precisely in these parts that the National League has 
the leasl hold. Out of Ulster there is not a population more loyal 
and possessed of better qualities than that of the west coast of Ire-— 
land, and one more deserving of British benevolence and gene — 
rosity . Besides her material progress, Ireland has made a re — 
markable advance in social and intellectual matters ) and I protests 
against the Repeal of the Union, as it would ruin and utterly^ 
destroy the work we have been carrying on. If, in the name ofc 
1 justice to Ireland ' — which has covered many a crime and man^s 
a blunder — we were to withdraw from Ireland our controllin g^ 
power, we would commit the greatest injustice that has ever beeiM 
committed by one people upon another, and compared with k — 
the Penal Laws and all the other wrongs would be microscopicn 
There is an Irish difficulty — a very grave difficulty — which wi Z3 
tax Parliaments and Governments, and may terminate Parli^^ 
ments and Governments. But have the English nation nev^s 
had difficulties before ? Mr. Gladstone's mode of meeting tBri' 
difficulty is that which was so admirably described by Lo~»c 
Salisbury as the policy of ' scuttle.' That was his policy in rega-J'G 
to the Afghan, the South African, and the Soudan difficulti^^s. 
It is his old remedy, which the people of England have con- 
demned over and over again. We do not believe in a policy of 
1 scuttle.' We believe in patience and perseverance. I know 
of no reason for scuttling out of Ireland except that there are 
eighty-five members in the House of Commons representing this 
Irish demand, and that these eighty-five members are absolutely 
necessary to keep Mr. Gladstone in office. In October last he 


appealed to the country to give him a majority large enough to 
be independent of the eighty-five Irish members ; now you hear 
of no such appeal ; he now says he is going to fight shoulder 
to shoulder with eighty-five individuals who could not have got 
into the House of Commons, and could not remain there, unless 
they were supported by Yankee gold. It comes, therefore, to 
this : that Yankee gold is to decide the future destinies of Great 
Britain. Was it for this you passed three great Reform Bills 
and extended the circle of the suffrage to all classes of capable 
citizens ? I cannot believe that the * almighty dollar ' is suffi- 
ciently almighty and omnipotent to destroy the power, might, 
and unity of the British Empire. But if it should, it will be 
time for those who take a higher view of politics to retire and 
give place to persons who are suited to these meaner and more 
despicable circumstances. We have heard a great deal about 
alternative proposals. What is wanted in Ireland is wonderfully 
little, and marvellously easy of attainment — only obedience to 
the ordinary law which binds every civilised society together ; 
but between law and obedience to law stand eighty-five 
members of Parliament, the National League, and the reckless 
conspirators of America. These are the forces which prevent 
your attaining the one thing necessary to the prosperity of Ire- 
land. These are the forces with which vou have to contend. 


House op Commons, August 19, 1886. 

[Mr. Gladstone's Government having been defeated on the second 
reading of the * Home Rule' Bill, by a vote of 341 to 311 (June 7), 
Parliament, in the ninth month of its existence, was dissolved, and the 
new elections were held in July. The final returns gave the following 
results: Conservatives, 316 ; Union Liberals, 78 ; Gladstonians, 191 ; 
Parnellites, 85 : Unionist majority, 118. Mr. Gladstone's resignation 
was announced on July 19, and Lord Salisbury was sent* for by the 
Queen on the 22nd. In the course of the next ten days he succeeded 
in forming his second Administration, Lord Randolph occupying the 
post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, and leader of the House of 
Commons. The new Parliament was opened on August 19, and 
the following speech was delivered on the first night, in reply to 
Mr. Gladstone.] 

THE right hon. gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) alluded to the aflaire 
of Burmah, and he appeared to imagine that the Govern- 
ment were experiencing greater difficulty in bringing that 
country into order than they anticipated when they assumed the 
responsibility of recommending its annexation. I have been 
somewhat responsible for recommending the annexation of that 
country, and I can say I never imagined that Burmah would be 
reduced to order till after a considerable period. It took no less 
than ten years to reduce Lower Burmah to order, though its 
state of civilisation was more advanced, and no doubt we must 
look forward to a long period before public order is established 
in the country recently annexed. On another point, the infer- 
ence which the right lion, gentleman drew as to the omission 
from the speech of any reference to foreign affairs, that no 
grave or alarming question was now under the notice of her 


Majesty's Government with regard to those matters, is a cor- 
rect inference. 

I will now proceed, if the House will allow me, to state the 
views of the Government on what the right hon. gentleman 
called rightly and properly the question of the day — the ques- 
tion of Ireland. But before doing this, I may be permitted 
to remark upon the somewhat doubtful compliment which 
the right hon. gentleman permitted himself to offer to the 
Government and gentlemen on this side of the House. The 
right hon. gentleman congratulated us on the different attitude 
which we held now and last January. He said there was a 
remarkable difference between the attitude we now held and 
the attitude which the late Conservative Government took up 
on January 26. He said that as far as the figures of crime 
go there is no reason for the change, and he could not imagine 
any satisfactory explanation of it. Well, has there been no 
change in the position of the Irish question since January last ? 
Why, the largest and most momentous change which could 
take place has come over the Irish question since that date. 
Since January 26, the right hon. gentleman has taken the lead 
of the National party in Ireland, and to the cause of the Repeal 
of the Union the right hon. gentleman has brought over for 
the first time a very large majority of a great historic party. 
Is that no change ? How does that affect, and how may the 
Government consider that it affects, the state of social order 
in Ireland ? There has been long an organisation in Ireland 
which aims at the Repeal of the Union, and that organisation is 
worked from time to time by methods which this House has 
regarded as treasonable and criminal. But since the right hon. 
gentleman and his friends assumed the lead of the National 
party in Ireland, are not the Government right in presuming, 
at any rate for the time, that the methods of political agitation 
which are familiar to the right hon. gentleman, and are regarded 
as constitutional in this country, may be adopted by the party 
in Ireland hitherto unaccustomed to them ? I hold that the 
Government are justified in assuming that the close, intimate, 
and indissoluble connection which now exists between the right 
hon. gentleman and the hon. member for Cork warrants that 


presumption. The right hoii. gentleman welcomed what he called 
our readiness for the first time to depart from the constant resort 
to coercion. The readiness of the right hon. gentleman to move 
away from the course of coercion is very recent. I have never 
observed, nor have the Irish members, I believe, observed, any 
reluctance heretofore on the right hon. gentleman's part to resort 
to coercion. Indeed, it was admitted by the Irish members that 
there was a greater reluctance among the Tories to resort to 
coercive legislation than had been displayed by the party to 
which the right hon. gentleman belongs. I cannot pass by 
without notice the tendency of the remarks of the right hon. 
gentleman as to the possible non-payment of rents in Ireland. 

I regret he should have thought it his duty to make those 
remarks. I do not think that the making of them squared 
altogether with the rest of his speech, and certainly such remarks 
are extremely curious when we consider that they fell from the 
author of the Land Act of 1881 — an Act which the right hon. 
gentleman, as the head of the Government and his party, solemnly 
guaranteed as a final settlement of the land question in Ireland. 
The right hon. gentleman anticipates that the judicial rents may 
not be paid by the tenants of Ireland. Having offered that remark 
to the House, he states that he is not qualified to give an opinion 
on the subject. If that is so, it is greatly to be regretted that 
he should have touched on the subject at all. Why anticipate 
a state of things which would be most formidable, when the 
very anticipation from such an authority as the right hon. 
gentleman might assist to produce those very results which we 
should all so deeply deplore ? And now I will ask the House to 
attend while I explain the views of the Government on the Irish 
question. I will deal with that question in a manner which has 
become familiar to members of Parliament. I will deal with it 
as it presents itself to the Government under the three aspects 
— social order, the land question, and local government. There 
is this difference between the late Government and the present 
Government. The late Government were of opinion that thesis 
three questions were indissolubly connected, and their policy 
was to deal with them all by one measure. The present 
Government do not believe that the three questions are indisso- 


lubly connected, and they propose to treat them to a very large 
extent as totally separate and distinct. Social order we intend 
to treat as a question absolutely by itself. The Government 
are distinctly of opinion, and will not shrink from expressing it, 
that there is nothing in the law or in the government or the 
administration of Ireland which would warrant or excuse any 
serious disturbance of social order. I go to the land question, 
and I would remind the right hon. gentleman that it has only 
recently been the subject of large legislation, which we certainly 
have been led to hope would be a final settlement of the 
question. With regard to the question of local government, 
we wish to treat it as a question for the United Kingdom 
as a whole. But I come back to the first branch of the 
subject — namely, the present state of social order in Ireland. 
The House might be interested with some figures as to crime 
in Ireland generally. The right hon. gentleman himself quoted 
a few, but they were of a slightly misleading character. I take 
the total agrarian crimes for the first six months of this year 
and compare them with the total for the first six months 
of last year, and I find, as the right hon. gentleman pointed 
out, that there is an increase, not inconsiderable, of agrarian 
crime. The total for the six months of this year is 551, while 
the total for the first six months of last year was 399. But 
that increase is almost entirely due to one part of Ireland 
alone. I allude to the county of Kerry. If you subtract the 
figures of crime in the county of Kerry from the total amount 
of agrarian crime in Ireland, you will find that there has been 
a reduction, or at any rate no increase ; but if I take the year 
1881-82 — a period when the right hon. gentleman was in 
power and was at the head of affairs — as a standard of acute 
disturbance of social order in Ireland, I find that, whereas the 
total of agrarian crimes for the first six months of tins year 
is 551, in the first six months of 1881 it was 2,310. It is 
necessary for the right comprehension of the question that 
yon should not only compare one period with another, but 
take great periods of disturbance and compare the present 
time with them. That is a general view ; and although I think 
that many would agree — perhaps no one would deny — that the 


amount of general agrarian crime in Ireland is larger con- 
siderably than it ought to be under a settled state of things, 
still I do not know whether, considering all the crises that 
Ireland has gone through, the present amount of agrarian 
crime is as serious as might have been expected. 

I now ask the House to allow me to direct its attention to 
the disturbed districts in the south and west of Ireland. The 
cause of those disturbances, which, as I have said, have become 
chronic and acute, is due to intimidation, boycotting, and moon- 
lighting. I will give to the House the figures relating to boy- 
cotting and moonlighting in general. There has been a very 
serious increase of crime in Kerry. It has increased in the first 
six months of this year as compared with the first six months of 
last year from the total of sixty-five agrarian offences to a total 
of 135 — more than double. Boycotting in Kerry and Clare, 
which in July 1885 had only reached the number of sixty-two 
cases, in the present July has reached 124. Boycotting all 
over Ireland does not show the same serious augmentation. In 
1886, the cases of whole or partial boycotting all over Ireland are 
890, compared with 533 in 1885. But it is in Kerry where 
this feature of boycotting shows itself in its most unpleasant 
form, and the House will be curious to know the number of 
persons who are under the special protection of the police in 
Kerry, as it will illustrate very forcibly the state of terror which 
prevails in that part of Ireland. In July 1886 there were 145 
persons who required protection, and 292 policemen were em- 
ployed in that duty. In July 1885 the number was only 
fifty-six, the police occupied being 107. To show the number 
of police who are taken away from their duties in order to 
protect individuals, 1 may mention the case of Lord Kenraare, a 
most amiable, estimable Irish nobleman, a late colleague of the 
right hon. gentleman opposite. For the protection of his person, 
his residence, farms, &c., thirty-eight constables are specially 
employed. For the same purpose, in the case of another 
landowner in Kerry, thirty-two constables are engaged. This 
will reveal to the House pretty clearly what the state of affairs 
is in that part of Ireland; and, judging from the small number 
of arrests that have been made, and the growing boldness of 


criminals, her Majesty's Government are unable to be absolutely 
certain that the executive machinery is as efficient as might be 
wished for the detection and prevention of crime or as adequate 
as the circumstances of the case require. In 1 871 the right hon. 
gentleman opposite had to deal with a similar state of things in 
the county of Westmeath, and for that purpose he moved for 
and obtained a Committee to take secret evidence, and on the 
report of that Committee he suspended the Habeas Corpus Act 
in that county, and the result was a very rapid diminution of the 
crime and disorder in Westmeath. But her Majesty's Govern- 
ment are anxious — in fact, are resolved — to satisfy their minds 
fully on the point which I previously mentioned to the House 
before resorting to extreme measures. They intend to make an 
effort by means of the agencies within their power to force the 
moonlighters and criminals to desist from their lawless courses, or 
to take such measures as will bring them to speedy justice. With 
that view, her Majesty's Government have decided to appoint a 
special military officer of high rank to the command of the dis- 
turbed districts, with such powers as we believe will enable him 
to organise arrangements for the restoration of order and for the 
cessation of the reign of terror which there prevails. This 
general officer will be directly responsible to my right hon. 
friend the Chief Secretary ; and the officer whom her Majesty's 
Government have selected, and who has consented to undertake 
the duty, is Sir Red vers Buller. 1 Both with regard to the 
disturbance of social order in those districts I have named, and 
with regard to Belfast, it is the determination of the Govern- 
ment to use to their very utmost all existing powers of the 
ordinary law — all the machinery, whether magisterial, police, or 
military, for the purpose of restoring or maintaining order — the 
first duty of the Government of every civilised community. But, 
this I can pledge the Government to : that at the very first 
moment that the Government becomes conscious that they are 
not fulfilling that which they regard as their highest duty, and 
that further power and strength are necessary — at that moment 

1 This appointment was condemned at the time by the Parnellite party ; 
at a subsequent period they were never weary of summoning General Buller 
into court as their best friend. 


they will come to Parliament and lay their case before it, and 
claim with all confidence from Parliament such legislation as 
they may deem to be necessary. 

I now come to the land question. With regard to the land 
question in Ireland, the Government are aware that various 
allegations are being put forward with great vigour and great 
assurance from many quarters as to the condition of the Irish 
land question. We are informed, or we hear it said, that 
judicial rents under the Land Act were fixed at a great deal too 
high a rate, and we also hear it alleged that the fall in the price 
of produce has rendered tenants unable to pay those judicial 
rents, and we are told that there is now, or will soon be, a 
general failure to pay rent in Ireland. Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment are by no means satisfied that there is any serious reason 
for any one of these allegations. Her Majesty's Government 
are not prepared to admit that the judicial rents fixed by the 
Commissioners were at too high a rate. The Government 
are further of opinion that it is quite possible the fall in the 
prices of produce — I allude especially to the fall in the staple 
article of Irish produce, butter — may be due quite as much to 
careless or defective manufacture as to any general deprecia- 
tion in prices. Then her Majesty's Government assume, as I 
think they are bound to assume, that the Commissioners under 
the Land Act, in fixing judicial rents for so long a period as 
fifteen years, left ample scope for any fall in prices. The view 
the Government take of the present position of the land question 
is that for all present purposes we take our stand on the Land 
Act of 1881, which was declared by its authors to be, and 
accepted by Parliament as, a final settlement of the land 
question. That Act, as supplemented by the Arrears Act of 
1882 and as amended by the Land Purchase Act of 1885, her 
Majesty's Government regard as a very valid and binding 
contract, which was made at that time between the State on the 
one hand and the landlords and tenants of Ireland on the other, 
and the policy of her Majesty's Government will be to see that 
all legal obligations and all legal process arising out of that Act 
are strictly enforced and perfectly carried out so far as such 
action can come within the province of an executive Govern- 


meat. If there are any persons in this House who are of opinion 
that there will be by the Government any interference with or 
suspension, by legislation or by neglect of executive action, of 
the right of landlords to recover their land in the event of the 
non-payment of rent, they fall into error. We are told that if 
we adopt a policy of that kind, there will be a general movement 
all over Ireland of passive resistance to the payment of rent. I 
take leave, in conjunction with my colleagues, to disbelieve that 
statement altogether and to disregard that menace. With re- 
gard to what the farmers have acquired under the Act of 1881, 
they have obtained a right possessing a distinct money value, 
which right the Government are equally bound to regard ; and we 
do not believe that the farmers of Ireland would consent to take 
part in any such scheme as is threatened, which would sacrifice 
or imperil those rights. We think that the movement in favour 
of non-payment of rent of 1881 has no chance under present 
circumstances of being generally repeated, in consequence of the 
great change of circumstances which the farmers of Ireland have 
undergone since that time. That is the policy of the Govern- 
ment with regard to the land question in Ireland at the present 
time. I would wish to add this. It has been brought to 
the knowledge of her Majesty's present Government that a 
very large number of members of Parliament on both sides 
of the House and in both Houses have always entertained 
very serious doubts as to the economical soundness of the 
machinery for the valuation of rents provided by the Act of 
1881. Doubts were expressed by many members of the Liberal 
party as to the economical soundness of the system of double 
ownership — doubts which were described with matchless force 
and eloquence by the right hon. gentleman the member for 
Mid-Lc-thian himself in 1870. Many members of his party 
doubted this part of the Land Act of 1881. We hold that 
the machinery of that Act was imperfect and of a rough and 
ready character, and that if it did contain anything of good, 
whatever good it did contain was damaged, impaired, and 
tainted by the violence, outrage, and crime in the midst of 
which, and in consequence of which, it was created and brought 
into operation. Even the advocates of that Act looked upon 


it as being of a temporary character. The noble lord the 
present member for Rossendale l made a speech in which he 
described the character of the machinery for the valuation of 
rent as most temporary, as being what he called a modus vivendi, 
and as intended to tide over the period which was bound to 
elapse between the disestablishment of the system of double 
ownership and the establishment of a system of single ownership. 
Now, sir, her Majesty's Government are strongly of opinion — 
after all that has passed in connection with this land question, 
and in vie^f of the very conflicting and strong opinions freely 
expressed / from many and various quarters — that the time has 
arrived when they ought to have at their command, for their 
guidance in the future, authentic information of a distinctly 
official and weighty character as to the working of the Land Act 
and as to the present position of the land question in Ireland. 
Her Majesty's Government are aware that a great and widespread 
organisation has endeavoured, not without success, arbitrarily 
to control the working of that Act for their own ends ; and they 
are aware that, at any rate with regard to a great part of 
Ireland, there does not exist at the present time perfect freedom 
of action in the rural community with regard to the sale or 
the cultivation or the hiring of land. For these and other rea- 
sons, the Government have decided to appoint a Royal Commis- 
sion which shall, during this coming autumn and winter, inves- 
tigate with all care, and knowledge, and experience the land 
system at present obtaining in Ireland. 2 We confidently hope 
that the report of this Commission may be furnished to the 
Government before the close of next spring. But a mistake will 
be made by any who hastily assume that the Government con- 
template any further dealing with the land question in Ireland in 
the direction of any revision of judicial rent by the interposition 
of the State. We are rather bound to the other solution of 
the land question in Ireland — single ownership — which was the 
main object of the Act of 1881. It was the main object of the 
Act of 1885, which was concurred in by all parties in the House; 
and it was the main object of the Land Bill introduced by the 

1 Lord Hartington. 

7 This was the Commission presided over by Lord Cowper. 


right hon. gentleman opposite in the last Parliament. The 
system of single ownership of land in Ireland, we believe, may 
be the ultimate solution of most of the difficulties of the land 
question ; and though her Majesty's Government will not be pre- 
pared, as far as they are at present informed, to extend the 
liabilities of the State as provided under the Act of 1885, they 
may be prepared to submit to the House proposals, if additional 
securities should be provided by local authorities, for a further 
outlay of public money. 

There is another matter on which the Government are also re- 
solved to acquire fall and authentic information. It is a matter 
on which much has been said and written during many years. 
I allude to the development of the material resources of Ireland. 
The constant allegation made by men of all parties in Ire- 
land has been that those resources have been neglected by 
the people and by the State, and that the capacity of Ireland 
for maintaining a much larger population even than she at 
present maintains is undoubted, if those material resources 
could be developed by the infusion of capital into Ireland. On 
this question her Majesty's Government propose to utilise the 
autumn and winter by procuring the very best information. 
Our inquiries will divide themselves into three distinct heads. 
The Commissioners will consider the possibility of the creation 
of a deep-sea fishing industry on the west coast of Ireland, by the 
construction of harbours of refuge, and the connection of those 
harbours with the main lines of rapid communication. The 
Government express no opinion as to the possibility of such a 
work. But it is not a proposal to be derided. If such a thing 
could be carried out, it would be worth a great effort and some 
risk on the part of Parliament, for it would, if successful, remove 
what has always been, and must always be. a source of intense 
anxiety to an Irish Government — viz. the extremely precarious 
position of the population on the west coast — a population, I will 
say, than whom none is more deserving of the sympathy and 
support of Parliament. In the second place, they would be 
especially directed to examine the railways, tramways, and road 
communication all over Ireland, and their extent and manage- 
ment as compared with those of other countries. The third 

VOL. U. F 


branch of the inquiry will be the question of arterial drainage, 
and whether those great drainage works which modern agri- 
culture requires, and which are too considerable for the resources 
of particular localities, could be undertaken remuneratively by 
the State for the benefit of the community at large. 

I come to the third question — that of the Irish local 
government, on which I can only say that it is the intention of 
her Majesty's Government to devote the recess, which we hope 
will be one of due length, to the careful consideration of the 
question of local government for the three kingdoms. When 
Parliament reassembles in the beginning of February next year 
the Government are sanguine that they will be prepared with 
definite proposals on that large question. Their object will be, 
as far as possible, to eliminate party feeling and to secure for 
the consideration of the question as large an amount of Parlia- 
mentary co-operation as can be obtained, so that whatever 
settlement may be arrived at it may not be claimed as a 
triumph of either party. On this question of local government 
I have nothing to add. We are perfectly certain to fall into 
no errors on account of undue haste. No amount of taunts, or 
jeers, or denunciation will make us budge one inch from that 
resolution. The great signposts of our policy are equality, 
similarity, and, if I may use such a word, simultaneity, as 
far as is practicable in the development of a genuinely popular 
system of local government in the four countries which form 
the United Kingdom. I have stated fully and frankly the main 
out lines of our policy. The basis of that policy is the restoration 
and the maintenance of social order in Ireland, and of individual 
freedom to the widest extent which social order will permit. To 
that we are determined, at all costs to ourselves as individuals, 
or as a Government, to adhere, relying on the support of a great 
political party. On that foundation our policy reposes; but there 
is yet another, a deeper, stronger, and wider foundation — I mean 
the verdict of the British people as delivered with no doubtful 
sound at the recent general election. The verdict of the people we 
take to have been unmistakably in favour of the maintenance of 
the Legislative Union between the two countries, of the supremacy 
of the Imperial Parliament, and of the full and effective sove- 


reignty of the Queen over the whole of the United Kingdom. 
That verdict, for the purposes of the Government, we take to be 
what Lord Salisbury called it, a final and irreversible verdict, 
the finality and irreversibility of which cannot be in the smallest 
degree impugned except after another appeal to the country. 
Upon it we base our policy, not only for Ireland, but for the 
United Kingdom and the British Empire as a whole, and by 
that policy so founded we, as a Government and as a party, will 
stand or fall. 

r 2 


Dartford, October 2, 1886. 

[The principles advocated in the following speech — which soon 
came to be known as the ' Dartford programme '— had the full approval 
of Ijord Randolph Churchill's colleagues, but that important fact did 
not save the speech itself from attacks in various quarters which are 
usually believed to derive their inspiration from official sources. 
This singular repudiation before the public of a policy which in 
private had met with a tacit, though perhaps reluctant, assent, must 
still be regarded as one of the mysteries of contemporary politics. 
Tt will l>e observed that in this address, the first delivered to a 
general audience after Lord Randolph's appointment to the office of 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, great stress is again laid on the absolute 
necessity of the nation getting its * money's worth for the taxes ' 
exacted from it, and of effecting reductions in the expenditure. It 
will also be seen that an Allotments Bill, a Local Government Bill, 
and other measures which afterwards came before Parliament, were 
distinctly foreshadowed in this speech. It cannot, however, be said 
that at this time the measures in question were by any means out 
of reach of danger. Some passages on the necessity of reform in 
Parliamentary procedure are omitted, because similar arguments in 
fuller detail were submitted at Bradford in the speech which follows 

I HAVE to return you my very sincere and earnest thanks 
for the kind welcome which you have accorded to me this 
afternoon ; and also 1 have to express my sense of the value 
which I attach to those recorded expressions of confidence in 
the form of addresses which the officers of your various associa- 
tions have been kind enough to present to me. It has been my 
lot to be called upon to perform duties of a most anxious and 
difficult nature — duties which would be most anxious and diffi- 
cult even to those who possessed a long experience and great 


knowledge of public life, but which to one like me, who has no 
great experience of public affairs, and who has not been many 
years in Parliament, are, indeed, duties so anxious and so 
difficult that they could not be at all adequately performed un- 
less I thought that I was sustained by a considerable body of 
public approval in this country. Undoubtedly addresses like 
those which you have given me are of immense value in signifying 
to me that I have not at any rate forfeited as yet any large 
measure of public confidence. It is my most pleasing du ty, not 
only on my own behalf but on behalf of her Majesty's present 
Government, to express to you Kentish men our cordial and sin- 
cere congratulations on the signal and memorable victory which 
your exertions gained for the constitutional party at the general 
elections of 1885 and 1886. I do not know whether you have 
studied the statistics of the growth of constitutional principles in 
this great county of Kent. In the year 1 868 — when Mr. Disraeli 
appealed to the country after having passed a large measure of 
electoral reform — there were returned to Parliament from this 
county thirteen Liberals against eight Tories. In the year 1874 
there was a slight improvement, because there were returned to 
Parliament thirteen Tories against eight Liberals. In 1880 — 
a very dark year for the Conservative party — Kent held her 
own, for you returned sixteen Tories to Parliament against five 
Liberals; and in 1885, out of nineteen constituencies in the 
county of Kent, you did not return one single Gladstonian 
candidate, but by large, by overwhelming, by crushing majori- 
ties, you returned to Parliament eighteen Conservatives and one 
Liberal Unionist, and that unequalled position you managed to 
sustain at the last general election. That is really only a sign of 
what has been going on all over the country. There has been 
going on over the whole country a steady and sure growth of 
Constitutional principles, a steady and increasing indication of 
a popular belief in the value of the British Constitution. But 
I attach particular importance to this adhesion of the county of 
Kent to the Constitutional cause. The county of Kent is a 
county with many most interesting traditions— (A Voice : ' The 
garden of England.') — a county which is well termed the 
garden of England. It is a county of great wealth, a county 
of great homogeneity, and it is a county, if I may use such 


ail expression, of immense individuality. Mr. Gladstone claims 
that lie lias got on his side the whole of the civilised world. 
Well, gentlemen, I reply that he is welcome to the whole of 
the civilised world : but give mo the county of Kent. I am 
not aware that the civilised world has any concrete voting 
power in the House of Commons, but I am aware that the 
county of Kent has a concrete voting power of nineteen 
members on the Constitutional side, and I say to Mr. Gladstone. 
c You are perfectly welcome to the civilised world, and make as 
much as you can out of it, as long as you leave us the nineteen 
representatives of the county of Kent.' We must beware of one 
thing, however: we must not dwell too fondly on the past. 
Politics is not a science of the past ; politics is the science of the 
future. You must use the past as a lever with which to manu- 
facture the future. Politics is not a profession which consists in 
looking back ; it is not a profession which consists in standing 
still : it is in this country essentially a profession of progress. 
Therefore, we must use our great victories in the past as a means 
of attaining others in the future ; and I would warn you most 
earnestly against the dangers of over-confidence. It was over- 
confidence more than anything else which ruined the Conserva- 
tive party in the year 1880. Seat after seat was thrown away 
at that time because members of the Conservative party and 
Conservative organisations thought that their power was irresist- 
ible, and that it was not necessary for them to make an effort. 
We have before us now a long road to travel. We have many 
ranges of political mountains of great difficulty to cross, and we 
must remember that ' he that putteth on his harness must 
not boast as he that taketh it off/ Our journey has only 
just begun; but there is much which ought to encourage us 
along our road. They say that a good beginning makes a 
good ending, and I think we have made a good beginning in 
this last session of Parliament. It will interest you to know 
that the present Government, which only commands a nominal 
majority over the Separatist Opposition of 90 votes, has been 
supported in forty-three divisions in the last session by an 
average majority of 100 votes. That is a satisfactory com- 
mencement. I do not know that we can look to maintaining that 


majority through the sessions that are to come ; but at any rate 
there we have got it up to now-^an average recorded majority 
in support of the present Government of 100 members of the 
House of Commons. Undoubtedly, gentlemen, that has been 
greatly due to the unparalleled sacrifices and to the unequalled 
devotion of the Tory members to their duties in the House of 
Commons, at a time of the year when the performance of those 
duties was attended with every trial and every labour that you 
can imagine. It has also been due to the loyal support which 
we have received from the whole party of the Liberal Unionists. 
Upon this fine autumn afternoon I do not propose to waste 
your time by alluding at length to the Separatist Opposition in 
the House of Commons. I really do not think they are worth 
powder and shot. An Opposition — a Parliamentary Opposition 
— more hopelessly demoralised, more hopelessly disintegrated, I 
have never seen and I have never read of. They have no leader 
and they have no policy. Perhaps I am wrong in saying that, and 
I ought to have put it in another way — they suffer from having 
too many leaders. The conduct of the Parliamentary Opposi- 
tion reminds me of what used to be the conduct in the old days of 
the Dutch army. There used to be in command of the Dutch army 
a council of Dutch generals, and every day a new general took it 
in turn to command, and the consequence was that the Dutch 
army invariably suffered defeat. And so with the Parliamen- 
tary Opposition in the House of Commons. You have one day 
Mr. Parnell leading, and another day you have Mr. Labouchere, 
and another day you have Mr. Conybeare leading, and every now 
and then you have Sir William Harcourt leading, and occa- 
sionally, as a great treat, Mr. Gladstone drops in from Bavaria. 
They suffer from a plethora of leaders. Perhaps 1 was also 
wrong in saying that they have no policy. They have a policy, 
and their policy is this — to bring into discredit, to put a stop to, 
and, if possible, to demolish and destroy all Parliamentary govern- 
ment. That is their policy. I do not care how long they pursue 
that policy, because it is a policy which is doomed to failure. 
It is a policy which the British const it uencies will never support, 
because they are attached to their Parliament, they are proud 
of their Parliament, and they are determined that their Parlia- 


ment shall maintain the traditions which have been handed down 
to it. So much for the Parliamentary Opposition. Let me 
invite your attention to a more business-like question. Let me 
ask you for your patience and your indulgence while I examine 
with some detail the policy which the Government has pursued 
and which it hopes to pursue. 

The policy which the Government has pursued up to now 
has been called by our opponents ' a policy of Royal Commis- 
sions.' I do not in the least regard that taunt. There is a 
very old proverb, ' Do not prophesy unless you know/ I will 
tell you a much better proverb, and I will take out a patent for 
it, and it is this : ' Do not legislate unless you know.' Now 
Mr. Gladstone — (A Voice : ' We are sick of his name.') — I am 
afraid that you will hear his name more than once in the course 
of my remarks. But the great feature of the legislation of that 
gentleman, whose name you arc so sick of, was that he legislated 
by intuition^whereas the Conservative party, or rather the 
Unionist party, are detennined to legislate only upon ascer- 
tained facts. You are aware that we have a| pointed four prin- 
cipal commissions to inquire into four great subjects. We have 
appointed two commissions for Ireland— one to examine into 
the operation of the recent land laws which have been passed 
for that country — a subject of most bitter and conflicting con- 
troversy — a subject upon which, without sound information, it 
would be impossible and insjine for a Government to move. We 
have also appointed a commission to investigate the capacity 
of Ireland for development by public works on a remunerative 
scale and by the support of public credit. That is a commis- 
sion from which I hope great things for the future of Ireland ; 
and although the Parnellite party poured every kind of ridicule 
upon it, you may depend upon it that there are resources in 
Ireland which may be scientifically developed by the use of 
State credit, and the development of which must bring to the 
people of that country a large measure of prosperity. Let us 
take the United Kingdom. On two questions we have ap- 
pointed commissions to inquire, and they are two questions of 
great public interest. In the first place, we want to know to 
what extent this long commercial and agricultural depression - 


may have been influenced, or caused, or affected by the great 
changes in the relative value of the precious metals. That is a 
subject most complicated, most difficult, most mysterious and 
dark. It is a subject upon which sound scientific information 
is absolutely essential. Then there is another inquiry, in which 
I take the greatest interest. We have appointed a Royal 
Commission to investigate the scale. and^fiQst_of__Qur_5ystem_Qf 
govenmient in this country. We know that the expenditure 
of this country has been increasing rapidly, and we want to be 
certain on one point — that we get our money's worth for the 
taxes which we spend ; and we want to be perfectly certain that 
it is not in our power to make considerable reductions and sim- 
plifications of that expenditure. I do not know, gentlemen, 
what your opinions may be, but I frankly own that I anticipate 
much good from all these inquiries ; and I feel certain that before 
long these inquiries will provide your Parliament with sound 
material for beneficial legislation. 

I turn to the policy of the future. The main principle of 
that policy — and I pray you to bear this in mind, gentlemen — 
the main principle and the guiding motive of the policy of the 
Government in the future will be to maintain intact and un- ; 
impaired the union of the Unionist party. We know how much 
depends — how almost entirely the future of England depends — 
upon the union of the Unionist party ; how every institution 
which we value, how all the liberties which we prize, are for the 
time bound up in the union of that party ; and everything that 
we do, either in domestic or foreign affairs, will be subordinated 
to that cardinal principle, the union of the Unionist party. We 
know this, gentlemen — and I am not ashamed to state it before 
this great meeting — that we, the present Government, owe much 
of our existence and much of our efficiency to the Unionist 
Liberals. We recognise to the full the great sacrifices those 
gentlemen made — political sacrifices such as none of us have 
been called upon to undergo. We know well the odium they 
have incurred among their former political f.iends, and we con- 
sider it is our duty as a Government so to adapt our policy as 
to prove to the British people that the Unionist Liberals were 
right in the course which they took, and were justified in the 


great political sacrifices which they made. I wish that they had 
found it in their power to join us effectively in the heavy labours 
of government. I regret that they have not yet found it in 
their power to share with us ministerial responsibilities. But 
at any rate it is our business to interpret their action on the best 
and highest ground for them, to attribute to their action the 
loftiest and most honourable motives, and to believe they are 
animated by no other desire than to maintain pure and intact 
their political power and independence, so as to rescue the great 
Liberal party — which has so sadly gone astray — from all the 
heresies and all the terrible errors into which Mr. Gladstone has 
led them. Once more I repeat, so that you may bear it in your 
memories, that the main, the guiding principles of the policy of 
the Government will be to preserve the union of the Unionist 

Let us assume for the purpose of this meeting that the 
Government have been successful in effecting reforms in Par- 
liamentary procedure and in laying the foundation for future 
legislation, and let us consider for a moment the various subjects 
of legislal ion which the present Government ought, in justice 
to the country, to undertake with honesty and energy. I 
think we ought to give a chief place to the legislative require- 
ments of England and of Scotland. Ireland has occupied — 
T may say has monopolised — the time of Parliament durinpC 
the last ten years nearly, and the requirements of Englanc^ 
and Scotland have been much neglected, and great arrear^^ 
of legislation have accumulated ; and I think that it is th^* 
business of the. Government to commence at once dealing witr - ^ 
those arrears. » There is one matter which seems to come first - ""^ 
I think you will all be of opinion that the Government wiL0 
be justified in asking the attention of the House of Common-^ 
to legislation which will enable them and their supporters t^ ~~- 
redeem the promises and the pledges which they have made t ~~^ 
the agricultural labourers of England. And it is the decide* ** 
intention of the Government to introduce into Parliament 
measure which should provide facilities, through the operatior - 
of local authorities, for the acquisition by the agricultural- 
labourer of freehold plots and allotments of land. I do no^ 


think that there ought to be much difficulty in passing such a 
measure. There is a great agreement among all parties as to 
the main lines of the measure, and I do not in the least wish to 
detract from any credit which may be justly given to men like 
Mr. Jesse Collings or Mr. Chamberlain, who were foremost 
in bringing this subject before the public mind of England. 
My hope is that that will be one of the first subjects dealt 
with by the present Government in the next session. There 
is another measure closely connected with that, and that is 
legislation by which facilities should be afforded for the sale 
of glebe lands. That is intimately connected with the allot- 
ment question. Not only would it, I think, have a beneficial 
effect upon the incomes of the clergy, as providing them with 
incomes more regular and more secure than what they obtain 
now from the cultivation or the letting of their glebe lands, but 
also those glebe lands would in many villages and many parts 
of England afford most convenient morsels of land to be divided 
among the agricultural labourers, either for freehold plots, or for 
allotments, or for cottage gardens ; and that is a measure which 
I hope the Government will be able to introduce early next 
session. Now I come to a matter which is of great importance 
to you in Kent. I come to the question of tithes. (A Voice : 
1 Let the landlords pay them.*) The good sense of the people of 
Kent has settled, I understand, in an equitable and satisfactory 
manner to all parties, the question which threatened in Kent 
to be a somewhat thorny one — the question of extraordinary 
tithes. And it will be necessary for the Government to give 
its attention to the general question of tithes over the whole 
of England and Wales. This much may perhaps be admitted, 
that the settlement of the tithe question which Parliament 
carried out about a generation ago has not proved, on the whole, 
in its working, to be a complete settlement ; and it would appear 
that the intentions of Parliament at that time with regard to 
payment of tithe have not been altogether attained. I under- 
stand, however, from those who are well acquainted with the 
question, and who represent the receivers of the tithe, that it 
ought not to be difficult to provide a much more simple and 
much more direct mode of payment of the tithe, and a method 


-vh>h ^.-u'.ii not in any degree prove to be a vexations .-r 
'..a "-i^'-wj T.e*;:.Vi %i 'he occupier of land. That id all t can *av 
.-.-.«-:. -h- fc !vi- . :^r;.n now. bur I rather expect that bv Ie*r*.^- 
^ ?■. -: "■>• . ;--»■!« -p.. without doing any injustice r either rhr- 
.....:.-:■: r -!;.• ■•ier-ry. it may be possible for a great majority 
:' • •• ..!:.■;.. !•■:.- -f -Ins country to take upon themselves the 
:'.•• ■* ■/..•:•-■;. f *h»- incipience of tithe. 

Vi. -.- -« :r- rher measure which I hope the Government 
...:; ">• :</■• v. -I-ai with, ami which. I believe, is one of great 
'-.-- .--«• v. :v::»rij It is of enormous interest to the aeri- 
- ..* . •-*". -■ r.-.r.-.:;r.irr -T mean the question of railway rates. Ido 
- *]■.::.!< *:.-!•- ^j-hr v, I*- wry great difficulty in coming to an 
■•.jT'-'-'r. :r .p«.vi the question of the incidence of railwav rates. 
Y:.- '..:■- (f ■-.■-.-- mm^nr had a Bill in hand for dealing with the 
q .—*i-:.. -ir.d »h- pre-en' Government have a Bill in hand for 
•!-.r- :.;.*}>■-•: and my own belief is, that if the railway com- 
p'i:.i-- ar- approached fairly, if they are treated with justice 
and -\>ii consideration, they would not be unwilling to co- 
op.'iM'- in a more r-quitable regulation of the railwav rates as 
r-.-i/a rd< the commercial and the agricultural interests of this 
ci.jiiM';. The railway rates at the present moment operate 
in a wa;. which Parliament did not intend when it gave the 
railway companies their powers. Without doubt thev somehow 
manage to (rive to tlie foreign importer and to the foreign pro- 
ducer unfair advantages over the home producer. It is a difficult 
question, and the railway companies, like other corporations or 
property-holders, liave rights which have been conferred upon 
♦ hem by Parliament, and arbitrary and unjust treatment of them 
would strike a blow at all property in this country, and would 
re-act on the very interest you desire to serve. But still, I 
would say to the railway companies they had better bear in 
mind the Scriptural text. ' Agree with your adversary quickly, 
while you are in Ihe way with him." Because if the present 
grievances which the commercial and the manufacturing and 
aio'icultural community complain of with regard to the regula- 
tion of railway rales are suffered to go on undealt with, and 
frrowjnjr and developing, then it is possible that the rights and 
Ihe properly of railway companies may be placed in jeopardy. 


Those measures which I have alluded to are all, I think, though 
important, nevertheless minor measures — measures which ought 
not to excite great party controversy, and which ought to be 
passed without much difficulty through Parliament. And they 
are measures which certainly are urgently demanded. (There is 
another measure which the country requires also, and that is a 
measure which shall provide for a cheaper mode of land transfer 
and for cheaper methods of acquiring landed property by the 
individual, and for the registration of ti jble.) All I can .say on 
that point is this, that the Lord Chancellor of the present 
Government is enthusiastic on the question, and I understand 
that he has ideas. And you may depend upon it that when a 
Ix>rd Chancellor of England is enthusiastic on any question, and 
has ideas with regard to that question, it would be a bold, 
courageous, and clever man who will stop the Lord Chancellor's 
way. Therefore I think you may ldok forward with some confi- 
dence to a satisfactory measure upon this important question 
being introduced in the House of Lords early next session. 

Then there is the great question which overshadows all 
others, and which will absorb all the time and energies of the 
i Government, and that is the establishment in our country 
districts of a_ genuinely popular form of local government. 
That is a question which we do not intend to trifle or to 
tamper with. It is the decided intention of the Government 
to take it up in earnest, and to endeavour to arrive at a settle- 
ment of it. It includes two very large questions indeed. It 
includes some comprehensive re-arrangement and re-adjustment 
of the incidence of local taxation, and it includes some provision 
by which personal property shall be brought into the area of 
local taxation, and shall be called upon to contribute a far more 
equaK^hare than it does now in the expenses of local govern- 
ment. /The question of local government also includes another 
very large and thorny question — it includes the licensing 
question. I will not now enter into the complexities of that 
matter, but I believe it is possible for your local bodies, if 
properly constituted, to settle most of the difficulties and most 
of the controversies which have arisen around the question of 
licensing. At any rate I think the time has come when, by an 


agreement of all parties — except enthusiasts and fanatics — a 
real and genuine move forward can be made. 

There is another point in which I am specially interested, 
which I cannot omit to notice. I am specially interested in it 
from the office which I have the honour to hold. I will not 
conceal from you that my own special object, to which I hope to 
devote whatever energy and strength or influence I may possess, 
is to endeavour to attain some genuine and considerable re- 
duction of public expenditure, and consequent reduction of tax- 
ation. I have not the time, nor have I yet the information, 
which would enable me to go further into this matter now ; but 
I frankly confess that I shall be bitterly disappointed if it is not 
in my power after one year, or at any rate two years, to show 
to the public that a very honest and a very earnest effort has 
been made in that direction, and that that effort has been 
attended with practical and sensible results. I think you will all 
agree with me that with regard to the programme of legislation 
I have provided you with, it is a programme more than sufficient 
for one session of Parliament. Indeed, I think I have probably 
sketched out the work of two sessions of Parliament ; because 
you must remember that in addition to all these matters you 
will probably have to consider in a practical manner further 
reforms of the land laws of Ireland. The land laws of Ireland 
were recently reformed in a hasty and impulsive manner. 
There are many imperfections in the land system of Ireland at 
present. The system of double ownership in Ireland is a system 
which cannot last long. The process of change from double to 
single ownership must somehow be accelerated if you wish to 
produce peace in Ireland. But, in addition to that, you will 
have to endeavour, in this Parliament at any rate, to lay the 
foundation of a system of popular local government in Ireland 
— a very large question to solve, very difficult on which to 
obtain the co-operation of different parties, but a question 
which no Government and no party can afford to shirk. 
In addition to that there is another question which will very 
shortly come up for consideration — a question affecting the 
agricultural community. I refer to the question of popular 
elementary education. That is now being examined into by 


a Royal Commission, and until that Commission reports no 
Government can act. But when the report comes up, and 
when it has been considered and digested, you will find that 
legislation on popular elementary education is urgently de- 
manded by very large masses of our people. 

I have told you that the prospects of the Government are 
very fair, but I have also told you that the work which is before 
the Government is very heavy. It is so heavy that, if the pro- 
spects of the Government were not fair, that work would be 
almost appalling. But there are matters which are absolutely 
outside the range of legislation, which no Parliament, and which, 
to some extent, no Government, can touch. A nation does not 
live by legislation alone ; there are other matters beyond the 
control of Parliament and of Government, and in that area of 
subjects which is outside the reach of Ministers or of parties I 
find one most cheering and encouraging fact, which I feel it my 
duty to bring to your notice. There are distinct and definite 
symptoms of a real revival of trade, and of commercial enter- 
prise in this country. Now, if this revival is continued, you 
may depend upon it, it will very scon re-act upon the agricultural 
community and the agricultural interest, which is very dear to 
some here, because if we can once more restore some measure 
of prosperity and activity to our manufacturing towns, you will 
have almost immediately a great demand for, and a great con- 
sumption of, agricultural produce. If we can only get the town 
population to work in this country, you may depend upon it we 
shall soon have the rural districts busy and prosperous. This 
revival of trade is shown by many trustworthy signs. It is 
shown, in the first place, by great commercial activity in America. 
Our American friends are always ahead of everybody else, and 
what I hope is, that they may not, by their over-zeal and 
activity, spoil what promises to be a good future, and that they 
will not be led into over-speculation, which may produce panic 
and further depression. But the revival is also shown by the 
revenue returns. I prefer not to dwell upon those returns 
in detail at present, for to some extent they would be illusory, 
and my impression might be mistaken ; but still the revenue 
Teturns do show signs of a revival of trade in this country ; 


and there is also this great fact, that the great merchants and 
the great warehouse proprietors of this country are now begin- 
ning to find that their accumulations of stocks of manufactured 
and of raw materials are becoming exhausted. Upon these 
accumulations they have traded for some years, and they have 
become exhausted, and their stocks require replenishing; and 
that being so, and nearly all being in the same position, they 
are running into the market to replenish their stocks, and conse- 
quently you have a healthy and natural rise in prices. It seems 
certain that there is a revival of trade going on — a revival 
which seems to be a real revival ; and it would not be rash or 
premature to say that we have perhaps at last touched the 
bottom of this terrible and protracted commercial and agri- 
cultural depression under which we have been so many years 
labouring. But there is one thing which is necessary to a real 
, .revival of trade which is to endure and which is to increase. 
,Thc people of this country must have a Government in which 
they have confidence. Confidence is necessary — absolutely 
vital — to all enterprise, agricultural or commercial. The people 
of this country must know that they have a Government which 
will present law and order. They must know that they have 
a Government which does not intend to be squeezed, which does 
not. intend to be frightened by any passing or transitorv 
clamour, or by the noise of faction. They must have a Govern- 
ment which will recall from their starry exile those laws of 
political economy which Sir. Gladstone so summarily banished. 
They must have a Government in office which will respect the 
rights of property and which has consideration for the sanc- 
tity of contract. For years in England you have had no such 
Government, and the absence of such a Government has aggra- 
vated the commercial depression. 1 do earnestly believe and 
hope that you have such a Government now ; and if that belief 
of mine becomes at all general and at all popular, this revival 
of trade will progress speedily and merrily. 

Now, you will be glad to hear that I am drawing near to 
the close of my remarks. There are on the political horizon 
— otherwise an horizon as fair almost as that which stretches 
before me this fine autumn afternoon— there are on the 


political horizon two dark clouds, which may develop into storm 
and hurricane, which may shatter the brightest prospects, and 
destroy all the best and wisest calculations. I allude specially 
to the social condition of Ireland and to the aspect of foreign 
policy. In Ireland, I regret to say, you have the agitators 
hard at work, determined to leave that country no peace, no 
rest from political agitation. You have these agitators led by 
Mr. Gladstone and by Mr. Parnell, who, you may be certain, will 
stick at nothing, and will recoil from nothing which may make 
the government of the Queen impossible in Ireland. They have 
declared that it is not in the power of the British Government 
and the British Parliament to govern Ireland, and they will do 
all they know to make good their assertion. 1 believe their 
iniquitous, their unscrupulous projects will fail. I believe, and 
I hope, their plans will be utterly confounded ; and I base my 
hopes and belief upon two or three good reasons, which I will 
give to you. In the first place, the difficulty of Ireland is 
mainly an agrarian and agricultural difficulty. Whatever evils 
the legislation of 1881 may have had, this much must be said for 
it, that under it the tenantry of Ireland gained enormous advan- 
tages. If Mr. Parnell were to lose the support of the tenantry 
of Ireland, or if they became lukewarm in his support, or refused 
to go in for acute agrarian disorder, the power of Mr. Parnell 
would rapidly fade away. Now mark what the advantages are 
which the tenantry of Ireland obtained under the Land Act of 
1881. Every farmer in Ireland, with the exception of the 
leaseholder, could get his rent fixed before a court of law upon 
a scale of prices, and obtain what is denominated a fair rent. 
That generally turns out to be a reduction of rent by about 2 o per 
cent. He also gets fixity of tenure, which means a renewable 
lease of fifteen years, during which he cannot be disturbed by 
his landlord ; and, moreover, he gets the right to sell to any one 
to whom he will, for the highest price he can get, the interest 
in this lease. You who are acquainted with agricultural matters 
know that these are enormous advantages, and that they re- 
present a definite and considerable money value ; and 1 do 
not think that the farmers of Ireland are so foolish or so short- 
sighted as to risk the loss of these great pecuniary advantages, 
vol. n. a 


as they would undoubtedly do if they indulged to any large 
extent in acute agrarian disorder. There is a' second reason 
why I do not think Mr. Parnell's efforts will succeed. They 
have this year an abundant harvest in Ireland. They have 
had in Ireland every year since 1880 a bountiful and pro- 
sperous harvest, which is more than we can say in England. 
And they have consequently plenty of produce in Ireland, and 
the quantity of the produce of the land to a certain extent 
counterbalances the low prices which it fetches. The prices 
are now recovering, and I learn, on authority, that the price 
of butter and young stock has made a sensible rise within 
the last few weeks in Ireland. That is another reason why, 
I think, there ought not to be any great agrarian disorder in 
Ireland. My third reason is that I have confidence in the 
moderation of the Irish landlords. I do not believe that the 
Irish landlords are so foolish as to play into the hands of Mr. 
Parnell. I believe all the assertions of Mr. Parnell and his 
followers that there will be wholesale and unjust evictions in 
Ireland, are utterly unfounded and untrue. I believe that the 
landlords of Ireland are disposed to exercise their rights — the 
little rights which your Parliament has left them — with all jus- 
tice and moderation ; and you must receive with the greatest 
caution the statements of the Irish party as to the cruelty of 
the Irish landlords. Of course, if Mr. Parnell is successful, as 
he and his party hope to be, in organising a general repudia- 
tion of rent all over Ireland, there naturally will be a struggle. 
But, after all, that is human nature ; and if one party chooses to 
deny and repudiate the legal rights of another, the other party 
is really justified in endeavouring to show that those legal rights 
are supported and will be given effect to by the law of the 
land. Hut if during the winter in Ireland we are not con- 
fronted by any no-rent manifesto, if we are not confronted by 
any general no-rrnt movement, then I am as certain as that I 
am standing before you that the landlords of Ireland will by no 
action of theirs provoke the anger of their tenantry, and will 
not have recourse to harsh or unjust evictions, and will not, itx 
the great majority of cases, endeavour to exact rents whic\\ 
from one cause or another, it may be impossible to pay. For ^i 


those reasons I am of opinion that Mr. Parnells programme 
will probably fail — I hope it will. And I have great hopes of 
the immediate future in Ireland. I think that the Irish people 
know that they have a Government in power who are absolutely 
determined at all costs and in spite of any danger — political or 
otherwise — to preserve law, to maintain the law, to assert the 
rights of property, and to preserve order. From that duty on 
no consideration whatever will we be made to shrink. No 
longer will we tolerate that the state of Ireland shall continue 
to be a disgrace to England, and a blot upon the fair fame and 
character of the British Empire. Law and order must be made 
to prevail in Ireland ; but the Irish people are very quick and 
very shrewd. They know when a Government is in earnest ; 
and my belief is that, directly or indirectly, large classes and 
large bodies of the Irish people will co-operate with the Govern- 
ment in their endeavours to restore order in Ireland, and there- 
fore, although I go back to my original proposition and state 
that the prospect in Ireland is gloomy and menacing to some 
extent, yet I have great hopes for the future, and I do see real 
and clear signs of daylight, which may lead one to expect a 
better and brighter future in Ireland. 

Of the state of foreign affairs I regret I am not able to speak 
to you with such confidence. Far more serious perhaps than 
any other matter is the state of things which has arisen in Bul- 
garia. In the autumn of last year, when Lord Salisbury was 
at the Foreign Office, we had every reason to hope that the union 
of Eastern Roumelia with Bulgaria under the sovereignty of 
Prince Alexander would develop a prosperous and independent 
nation, in the growing strength of which might ultimately be 
found a peaceful and true solution of the Eastern question. 
Those hopes have been for the moment to a great extent dashed. 
A brutal and cowardly conspiracy, consummated before the young 
community had had time to consolidate itself, was successful 
in this, that it paralysed the governing authority of the Prince 
*ad deprived Bulgaria of an honoured and trusted leader. 1 At 
* ne present moment the freedom and independence of Bulgaria, 

1 Beferring to the * kidnapping' and subsequent abdication of Prince 
* lc *«UideT, King of Bulgaria. 

O 2 


as well as of the kingdoms of Servia and Roumania, would appear 
to be seriously compromised. This grave question is undoubtedly 
attracting much public attention in this country. It has been 
said by some, and even by persons of authority and influence, 
that in the issues which are involved England has no material 
interest. Such an assertion would appear to me to be far too 
loose and general. The sympathy of England with liberty, and 
with the freedom and independence of communities and nation- 
alities, is of ancient origin, and has become the traditional direc- 
tion of our foreign policy. The policy based on this strong 
sympathy is not so purely sentimental as a careless critic might 
suppose. It would be more correct, indeed, to describe such a 
policy as particular, and, in a sense, as selfish, for the precious 
liberties which we enjoy, and the freedom of Europe from 
tyranny and despotism, are in reality indissolubly connected. 
To England Europe owes much of her modern popular freedom. 
It was mainly English effort which rescued Germany and the 
Netherlands from the despotism of King Philip of Spain, and 
after him from that of Louis XIV. of France. It was English 
effort which preserved the liberties of Europe from the deso- 
lating tyranny of Napoleon. In our own times, our nation 
has done much, either by direct intervention or by energetic 
moral support, to establish upon firm foundations the freedom 
of Italy and of Greece. The policy of Lord Beaconsfield in 
1878, so much misrepresented, so much misunderstood, had 
this for its most conspicuous characteristic, that it rescued 
the young liberties of the peoples in the Balkan Peninsula, who, 
having been saved from the frying-pan of Turkish misrule, were 
in danger of falling into the fire of Russian autocracy. Times 
and circumstances alter, and the particular policy which may be 
suitable for one set of circumstances may require to be modified 
as those circumstances change. A generation ago Germany and 
Austria were not so sensitive as they are now to the value of 
political liberty. Nor did they appreciate to its full extent the 
great stability of institutions which political liberty engenders ; 
and on England devolved the duty — the honourable but danger- 
ous duty — of setting an example and of leading the way. Those 
were the days of Lord Palmerston ; but times have change^L* 


and it is evident, from the speech of the Hungarian Prime 
Minister on Thursday, that the freedom and the independence of 
the Danubian Principalities and of the Balkan nationalities are 
a primary and vital object in the policy of the Austro-Hungarian 
Empire. Those things being so, it may well be that England 
can honourably and safely afford to view with satisfaction that 
Power whose interests are most directly and vitally concerned 
assuming the foremost part in this great international work. 
We must, of course, take it for granted, as I am doing, that the 
liberty-giving policy of the Treaty of Berlin will be carefully 
and watchfully protected. Whatever modification this great 
fact may enable us to make in our foreign policy, whatever dimi- 
nution of isolated risk or sole responsibility this may enable us 
to effect, you may be certain of one thing — that there will be no 
sudden or violent departure by her Majesty's present Govern- 
ment from those main principles of foreign policy which I have 
before alluded to, and which for nearly three centuries mark in 
strong, distinct, and clear lines the course of the British Empire 
among the nations of the world. There are Powers in Europe 
who earnestly and honestly desire to avoid war and to preserve 
peace, to content themselves with their possessions and their 
frontiers, and to concentrate their energies on commercial pro- 
gress and on domestic development. There are other Powers 
who do not appear to be so fortunately situated, and who, from 
one cause or another which it is not necessary to analyse or 
examine, betray from time to time a regrettable tendency to- 
wards contentious and even aggressive action. \JLt is the duty 
of any British Government to exhaust itself in efforts to main- 
tain the best and the most friendly relations with all foreign 
States, and to lose no opportunity of offering friendly and con- 
ciliatory counsels for the purpose of mitigating national rivalries 
and of peacefully solving international disputes.v But should 
circumstances arise which, from their grave and dangerous 
nature, should force the Government of the Queen to make a 
choice, it cannot be doubted that the sympathy and, if necessary, 
even the support, of England will be given to those Powers who 
eeek the peace of Europe and the liberty of peoples, and in 
^rhose favour our timely adhesion would probably, and without 


the use of force, decide the issue. Our policy in these anxious 
times — subject always to the cardinal principle of maintaining 
the union of the Unionist party — will be to pursue an even and 
steady course, avoidiug the dangers of officious interference and 
unnecessary initiative on the one hand, and an attitude of 
selfish and timid isolation on the other. And I earnestly hope 
that we may be successful in contributing to the preservation of 
that general peace and security which, however necessary and 
advantageous it may be for other nations, is absolutely essen- 
tial to the progress and prosperity of the British Empire. 

Bradford, October 26, 1886. 

[The following speech was delivered to a large gathering of re- 
presentatives of Conservative local organisations, who came from all 
parts of the country. It was estimated that fully a million and a half 
of electors were represented at this meeting.] 

A QUIET autumn has certain disadvantages for unfortunate 
people who, like myself, are called upon to address great 
political meetings. It has this disadvantage, that it is very diffi- 
cult to find any succession of subjects which can from their nature 
arouse for any length of time the attention of so great an audi- 
ence as the present. I may say that I very much regret having 
made that speech which I made at Dartford. That was only three 
weeks ago, and yet I wish I had not made it, because, if I had 
not made that speech at Dartford three weeks ago, I might have 
made that speech here to-night. 1 My task this evening would 
consequently have been much lighter and much easier. How- 
ever, risking the chance of wearying you, and risking the chance 
of travelling over subjects which are no doubt to some extent 
familiar to you, I may find one or two others which may possibly 
be of interest, and to which I should like to direct your atten- 
tion this evening. I would first advert to the condition of Ire- 
land, a country which has for the last six years been the source 
of the most intense anxiety to your statesmen and to your 
fellow-countrymen. On the whole, about Ireland I can allow 
myself to say this much, that the accounts which the Ministers 

1 An allusion was here made to the attacks upon the Dartford speech 
Mch were kept np by the semi-official Conservative press, and to the denun- 
ciation of a policy which afterwards was adopted by the entire Tory j>arty. 
fte declaration by Lord Randolph of his desire to repeat the ' Dartford pro- 
£ m *XMne' was received with much laughter and cheering by the meeting. 



receive, the official information as to the social condition of the 
country and as to the prospects of a restoration of tranquillity, 
are encouraging. There is nothing whatever discouraging about 
them. There has been in Ireland a good and abundant harvest, 
and that harvest has been well gathered in. There has been in 
Ireland, moreover, a marked and satisfactory recovery of prices; 
and we can learn, though of course exact and accurate information 
on this subject is difficult to obtain, that the rents are being fairly 
paid all over the country. That great source of disturbance, the 
non-payment of rent, does not seem to be in active operation in 
Ireland at the present moment. But there is this to be said, 
that large reductions have been made, very large and general 
and liberal reductions of rent have been made, by the Irish land- 
lords. The Irish landlords have, I think, a great claim upon 
your consideration and your sympathy. They are not a body 
which have met with very much justice from public opinion in 
England of late years. If ever there was a body which was 
entitled to stand upon their strict legal rights to the letter of 
the law, I say these Irish landlords were. The Irish landlords 
have justified the confidence which her Majesty's Government 
placed in them. They have shown themselves to be considerate 
and liberal, and equal to the present crisis. |The Irish land- 
lords, by the general spirit of liberality and consideration with 
w r hich they have treated the Irish tenantry, have co-operated 
in a signal and a marked manner towards the great object of 
restoring order and tranquillity in IrelandJ There are, un- 
doubtedly, a few districts in Ireland where the disease of social 
disorder still lingers, where the emissaries of outrage and 
assassination have fixed a tight grasp upon the people, and 
where defiance of law seems to threaten to die hard. It is 
possible that these districts may have to be specially treated. 
There still remains in certain districts in Ireland — not, I am 
happy to say, a wide area, and I hope it is a diminishing 
area — a considerable amount of terror, of disorder, and of crime ^ 
and it is possible that Parliament may have to give special. 
consideration and special treatment to those districts. Butt- 
on the whole, with this exception, I may say that there 
been a marked decrease of crime and outrage in Ireland, an. 


that the returns of crime for the last month are lower than they 
have been, I believe, for the last five years. We are aware, of 
course, that it is too soon to speak about the state of Ireland 
with confidence. We have been only, I think, altogether three 
months in office, and absolute confidence as regards the future 
of Ireland would be out of place. No doubt Ministers will soon 
assemble in council in London for the annual winter delibera- 
tions of the Government, and the state of Ireland will natu- 
rally be fully and closely considered — considered with all that 
valuable information which the knowledge and experience 
and judgment of Sir Michael Hicks-Beach ] can supply. The 
country will very shortly know whether the Government will 
think themselves justified in allowing the winter to pass without 
having special recourse to Parliament for measures with which 
to assist the execution of the law. That is a matter on which I 
cannot at present speak to you with absolute certainty. We 
must recollect, you must recollect, that the present Govern- 
ment are under very heavy and und§r very binding pledges — 
pledges to Parliament, and pledges to you, the people — to 
maintain decent order and security of life and property in Ire- 
land. Those pledges were given very deliberately, and they 
were not the mere words and phrases in which the former 
Government used to be so fond of indulging. No! Those pledges 
when they were given indicated on the part of the Government 
a settled determination and resolution from which nothing that 
we know of is capable of turning us aside. No single soul in 
this country would ever place confidence in us again, nor shall 
we expect to receive from any single soul in this country a 
particle of confidence again, if those pledges which we have 
giVen to the country in regard to the maintenance of order in 
ifle/and were not fully carried out. However, having said that, 
* axid this : that I know of nothing at the present moment to 
^di ca t e that the Government are not able to do their duty in 
^land, and that they are not doing their duty. On the con- 
*"3r, all indications would go the other way, and really, my 
p *3« and gentlemen, when you come to consider through 
^-t a terrible time of trial that unfortunate country has 
1 Then Chief Secretary to the. Lord Lieutenant. 


passed during the past five years, I think you will agree that 
the state of the country is on the whole not nearly so bad 
as one might reasonably expect it to be. There is little doubt 
of this, that the Irish people either have altogether appreciated 
or are rapidly appreciating the full significance of the result of 
the last general election, when the stern resolution of England 
shivered and shattered into fragments that movement for the 
Repeal of the Union that emanated from Ireland — a movement, 
moreover, which was supported by a great majority of the 
Liberal party, and which was led by, perhaps, the most powerful 
politician of modern days. That movement was shivered, and 
shattered into fragments, by the stern decision of England. 
It is hardly probable that the same project will ever be at- 
tempted again under circumstances so exceptionally favourable 
to its success, and I think the Irish are too clever, too shrewd, 
too intelligent, and too quick not to have appreciated at their 
full value those great and glaring facts which are demonstrated 
by the last election ; and we may reasonably hope that the Irish 
people, either as a community or as individuals, will gradually 
and without much delay shape their political and social action 
in accordance with the result of that election. If the Unionists 
as a party hold together — and I do not see why they should 
not hold together — if they would take proper precaution for 
the future, and if they will follow up the victory which they 
have gained, boldly and energetically, then I think we may come 
to the conclusion without much doubt or hesitation that the 
question of the maintenance or the repeal of the Union has been 
settled in our time for one and probably two generations. 

I now ask you to examine with me a moment the condition of. 
our political opponents. What is that condition, looking at it now 
fairly and without prejudice ? I think it is a very unhealthy con- 
dition. It is, indeed, so bad a condition that I am inclined to 
ask, have we any political opponents ? There is no doubt that our 
political opponents are very sick. They would appear to me to be 
sick unto death. So sick are they I hardly believe that they can 
possibly recover from their sickness, and I will tell you why : 
because they have got into such a terrible and hopeless state of 
nervous prostration that they can do nothing else except con- 


template, examine, and moan over their various maladies and 
diseases. Most of them, certainly the most prominent of them, 
are keeping tolerably quiet; and no doubt that is the very best 
thing they can do, for any physician will tell you that perfect 
and absolute quiet and repose is the only cure for an exhausted 
and diseased organism. Their renowned leader is apparently 
occupied — to judge from the reports which appear in the news- 
papers — in that reckless and ruthless devastation of the groves 
and plantations of his paternal acres which so clearly proves to 
the world that he holds those acres — to use the legal title — 
without impeachment of waste, and also he finds time to study 
the history of the Union, to study it closely, and to re-examine 
it from every point of view. From all I can learn at the present 
moment, he is unable to decide positively which was the greatest 
scoundrel or blackguard, Mr. Pitt or Lord Castlereagh, and no 
doubt from time to time he will make to the public announcements 
on that question. But, meanwhile, you will agree with me that 
we have not the smallest right or title to complain of his being 
engaged in that occupation. It is a perfectly innocent occupa- 
tion. It cannot possibly do the smallest harm to anybody, least 
of all to Mr. Pitt or to Lord Castlereagh. Only one Liberal 
politician of any eminence has thought proper to address the 
British public — Lord Rosebery — the man whom Mr. Gladstone 
once designated, in a burst of enthusiasm, as the man of the 
ftiture — a very dim and distant future, I fear. I read Lord 
Rosebery's speech because it was my duty to do so, and I found 
that Lord Rosebery, in that speech, was entirely occupied with 
a kind of morbid analysis of the shrunken and attenuated form 
of the once great Liberal party after a long course of Gladstonism. 
Lord Rosebery mournfully ejaculated : l We were once 350 in 
the House of Commons ; now we are only 180. Once we were 
supported by over two millions of voters out of an electorate of 
only three millions and a half; now we are not supported by more 
than one million two hundred thousand voters out of an electorate 
of over five millions.' And so he went on, and that was the 
burden of his song. He had nothing to suggest ; he had 
nothing whatever to criticise in the policy of his opponents, and 
he had nothing whatever to announce except that he, the man 


of the future, was going off on a long voyage to India, and that 
he sincerely hoped, though he did not much believe, that he 
should find things a little better when he came back. I have 
given you in fairly correct, though, no doubt, in condensed form, a 
review of the position of the Government and the Unionist party 
and of their opponents. But you would be making a great error 
if you thought that, because of and on account of that position, 
which is in many respects, an encouraging and exhilarating 
position — if you thought that the present Government were in 
the least bit carried away by the success which has been vouch- 
safed to them, or were in the least bit intoxicated with the 
victory which they have gained. On the contrary, all this 
success and all these advantages, which for the time surround 
the Government and the Unionist party, only serve to stimu- 
late the Govemmeut to fresh exertions, and, in one sense, to 
determine them to do all which it may be in their power to do 
so that the country may derive the utmost benefit and advan- 
tage from the present political situation. We have placed before 
the country, and, I think you will say, we have lost no time in 
placing before the country, a programme both for domestic and 
foreign affairs ; and as far as I can learn — and I have many 
means of obtaining accurate information — the great mass of 
opinion in the country is fairly well satisfied with that pro- 
gramme and only desires one thing more, which is that the 
programme should become an accomplished reality. I think it 
is likely to become so, for all the opposition we are likely to meet 
with, the effective opposition, the constitutional opposition from 
the Gladstonian Separatists. All they can do apparently is to 
toss and writhe on their bed of sickness and pain, and to 
exclaim with impotent rage, * How unfair! how shameful! how 
unprincipled ! you have stolen our programme.' These ejacula- 
tions which they are making every day are, to my mind, the 
most glaring proofs of their hopelessly diseased mental condition. 
Why ' their programme ' I should like to know ? Since 1880 
they have been in office with a short interval, and they did no^^ 
make an attempt to carry out a single item of that programmfe^ 
excepting in one direction. They did attempt to reform Parlifc^j 
mentary procedure, and they made such a mess of it that iJ^V: 


whole work has to be done over again. I never knew a claim, 
and I have never read of a claim put forward by a political party, 
which was at once more audacious or more ridiculous. They \ 
• tell us that our programme, such as I sketched at Dartford the 
! other day, is a Radical programme, that the Tory party have 
I turned their coats and abandoned their principles, and adopted 
the principles of the Radical party, and quantities of sentences 
of that kind and of equal stupidity. All I know about the 
programme of policy, foreign and domestic, which I endeavoured 
to sketch out at Dartford three weeks ago is this, that it was a 
mere repetition of the programme which was sketched out by 
Lord Salisbury in November last, in that speech which he made 
at Newport in 1885. All I know about my speech at Dartford 
which I can say in reply to what I am told as to its being a 
total adoption of Radical principles and measures is this, that 
it was a mere reiteration and elaboration of the Queen's Speech 
of January last when Lord Salisbury's first Government was in 
office. It was an elaboration and a reiteration of the speeches 
of the Ministers who supported the policy which was contained 
in that speech. At that time it was our intention, if we had 
remained in office, to have invited Parliament to consider 
practically the question of the reform of Parliamentary procedure, 
and that we meant to ask Parliament to do first. At that time 
it was the intention of the Government to have dealt with the 
interesting question of providing facilities for the acquisition of 
allotments for agricultural labourers, and the only difference 
between then and now is this, that the Government at that time 
thought they would do better to embody that question in the 
Local Government Bill, and the Government now are of opinion 
that they will do better to deal with it in a separate and special 
measure. At that time it was the intention of the Government 
to introduce a measure to facilitate the sale of glebe land in con- 
nection with the question of the provision of allotments for agricul- 
tural labourers. At that time my noble friend the Lord Chan- 
cellor had in preparation a measure to provide for the cheaper 
fr^nsfer of land, and for the registration and simplification of 
^*£le to real estate. At that time the Government had been for 
**g considering and had made great progress with a measure 


for the establishment of popular local government in our rural 
districts. That measure would have been of a comprehensive 
character, and would have included proposals for dealing with 
local taxation and the question of licensing. In addition to 
that, my right honourable friend the present Colonial Secretary 
was then President of the Board of Trade, and he had under 
his most careful consideration a measure for the further regu- 
lation of railway rates. Therefore nothing whatever has been 
added to the programme which we put before the country in 
November last and January last, and I never heard a single soul 
say in November last, or January last, that we had adopted a 
Radical programme. I was wrong in saying nothing had been 
added. Two things have been added. One added question Is 
that we hope to be able to legislate with a view to settle the 
difficulty which has arisen about the payment of tithes, and 
another addition to the programme has been this, that with 
regard to procedure in the House of Commons we have come 
to the conclusion that there must be some further power adopted 
by Parliament for closing debate. That is an addition on which 
1 shall have to say something before I sit down But, except 
those two additions, our programme has been the same since 
November last, and our programme in November last, as it was 
placed before the country by Lord Salisbury, merely summarised 
what every sincere Conservative speaker of any position or 
intelligence has been explaining to the country for the past six 
years. This programme has practically been before the electors 
' for six years, and it is because it has been before the electors 
for six years, and because the electors now beKeve it is our 
programme, and a genuine programme, that we are in office at 
the present moment. 

You are aware that last January we were prevented from 
even making a beginning of carrying out that programme. 
Mr. Gladstone, by a manoeuvre, perhaps the most artful, cer- 
tainly the most unprincipled ever adopted by any Minister, 
solely with the view of placing himself in office, turned us out 
of power. We had to resign, and we were prevented from then 
making a beginning of that programme, though I believe at 
that time the general public feeling of the country was very 


much in favour of our being allowed to make a beginning. 
However, we were turned out, and Mr. Gladstone came in. 
And uow Mr. Gladstone has been turned out, and we are going 
to try again, and this time I think we are going to try with 
every prospect of success. It is the fact that we have every 
prospect of success which makes our opponents so malevo- 
lent. They know they cannot prevent us now from making 
an earnest and honest attempt to carry out our intentions. 
They know that, whatever manoeuvres they adopt, however 
artful or however unprincipled they may be, it is out of their 
power to turn us out of office, and it is that which so excites 
their malice. It is their impotence that drives them to fury. 
The consequence is, they have nothing to do now except to 
misrepresent our policy, and to ascribe to us the most injurious 
and the most libellous and the most calumnious motives. Now 
there are many forms of calumny which the Radical Separatists 
adopt against the present Government. They are very fond of 
saying, in the first place : ' The Government have produced a 
great programme, but they have not the smallest intention of 
attempting to carry it out. The Conservatives always like to 
do nothing. Their idea is that there should be no legislation, 
and you will see nothing will be done.' That is one form of 
calumny they adopt, and to that I can only reply, ' Wait, and 
see ; time alone can decide whether they are right or wrong.' 
But of this I am certain, that even if we did produce our pro- 
gramme in a practical form, and make an effort to carry it out, 
Radical Separatists would at once say it was owing to them that 
we had been forced to take that step. Another form of calumny 
is this — they say : ' Oh yes; very likely the Government will 
produce some measures, but these measures will not be measures 
of real reform.' Again to that 1 can only reply, k Let us wait 
and see.' Time, again, is the only power that can decide that 
question. But of this I am perfectly certain, that if we did 
provide really good reforming measures, and carry them into 
law, Radical Separatists would at once claim that it was entirely 
owing to their influence and cleverness that these measures were 
carried. There is no pleasing these malevolent persons. There 
is one special calumny, which I should like to deal with 


to-night. It is freely made. The Radicals go about saying thatrft 
the Tory party has been converted in the most unprincipled, 
manner to the policy of three acres and a cow. The accusation* 
is perfectly false. We, the members of the Tory party, are, I 
believe— certainly, I can speak for myself with great assurance — 
as opposed as ever we were to the policy of mortgaging the local 
rates in order to provide every agricultural labourer in the country 
with three acres and a cow r . We are opposed to the policy be- 
cause we think it an unsafe, an impracticable, an imprudent, 
and an unrealisable policy. This however is certain, that what 
1 may call the facilitating by legislation, so far as legislation 
can facilitate such an object — the facilitating of the multiplica- 
tion of owners and occupiers of land — has long been a cardinal 
principle of Tory policy not only in Ireland, but over the whole 
of Great Britain. On that basis we shall work, and of this I 
feel no doubt whatever — that, w r ith regard either to the allot- 
ments question, or with regard to the much larger question of 
land transfer and simplification of title of real estate, we shall 
produce to Parliament measures which will be real improvements 
and needed improvements on the existing state of things. 

With regard to the question of local government in Ireland, 
I will permit myself to say this, that there are three things 
certain. It may be as well that I should state them. In the 
first place, the present Government do not intend, in any 
shape or form, to grant Home Rule to Ireland, nor to become 
responsible for any legislation that contains the germs of Home 
Hule. The second thing, which is also certain, is this, that we 
do intend, if we remain in office, to deal with the question of 
local government in Ireland. And the third thing that is 
certain is, that we do not mean to be hurried or hasty in 
that dealing. We mean to be most extremely deliberate in 
our consideration of what is a most difficult and compli- 
cated subject. But this much I may say, that the proposals of 
the Government for dealing with the local government of 
Ireland, when they are produced to Parliament, will be found to 
be based and drawn upon lines similar to and analogous to 
those upon which we hope to buildup the system of popular local 
government in Great Britain. These three things are, I believe, 


certain and immutable. But I am perfectly sure the Radical 
Separatists, by their speeches and through their press, will 
recommence to state that they know as a positive fact that the 
Government have in preparation a measure of Home Rule for 

There is one matter to which I wish to ask your special 
• attention. It is a matter which has already excited, lam glad 
to say, much public comment and attention. I allude to the 
question of reform of Parliamentary procedure. I made some 
allusion to this in my speech at Dartford, and there I stated 
that, in my opinion, the main feature — or, to borrow a very 
good phrase from Mr. Gladstone, the motor muscle — of any 
scheme of reform of Parliamentary procedure must contain 
as its first article the adoption by the House of Commons of 
a simple and effective form of closing debate, according to the 
will of a majority. Without this all the other reforms of 
your Parliamentary procedure will be absolutely useless and 
unprofitable. With it there are many other wide reforms, 
which may be in the highest degree beneficial to the transaction 
of public business ; but the motor muscle, the power of closing 
debate, is the foundation, not only of any reform of proce- 
dure, but it is the essential and vital principle of any pro- 
gramme of practical legislation for the wants of the people of 
this country. It is more than that — it is the foundation of 
any hope or prospect of good executive and administrative 
government under Parliamentary institutions. Without it, 
1 believe that all nope of legislative progress is vain ; without it, 
your Parliamentary institutions will gradually become weakened, 
impaired, ultimately destroyed ; without it. the gravest possible 
dangers will certainly arise, if the Government in any time 
of great emergency had to make sudden and unexpected de- 
mands on Parliament. Of course on this point at once an 
accusation is brought against those members of the Tory party 
who advocate such a change as this that they have changed 
their minds ; and that accusation is specially brought against 
myself, and I am told that I have changed my mind, and, of 
coarse, that I have changed it in a very unprincipled manner. 
That follows naturally. Well, I might argue that question, 
VOL. n. H 


particularly if I possessed anything like the dialectical ingennit; 

of Mr. Gladstone, ad infinitum ; but I think it perfectly useles 

to argue it and to waste the time of this meeting. I franklj 

and fully admit that I "have changed my mind upon this que* 

tion of the power of closing debate. An unchanging mind i 

an admirable possession so long as the circumstances wit! 

regard to which that mind is made up do not themselves 

change. But an unchanging mind, when the circumstances 

on which that mind was made up are totally changed am 

transformed — that is a possession which I sincerely hope wil 

never be mine. Allow yourselves to look with me at the tote 

change of circumstances which has arisen with regard to Par 

liament since the Conservative party as a party opposed tb 

power of closing debate. Compare that Parliament of 18$ 

when Mr. Gladstone was Prime Minister, with the Parliamen 

of the present day when Lord Salisbury is Prime Ministe: 

You will see there have been four great changes, of which tl 

last is the most important. When Mr. Gladstone was Prin 

Minister both of the great parties in the State were solid 

united against Repeal, nor did it appear possible or probal 

that that union could ever in our time pass away or be destroy* 

Further, both political parties in the State were united I 

the purpose of suppressing wilful, general, and deliberate ( 

st ruction of public business. That was marvellously exe: 

pi i tied when, in the year 1881, Parliament in one night, a 

hardly with any debate at all, agreed to Mr. Gladstone's ru 

of urgency with regard to public business. But more tl 

that. In the Parliament of 1880 both political parties w< 

united in an unchangeable determination to support and 

.strengthen the authority of the Chair. And now comes t 

principal feature of that Parliament, comparing it with 1 

present. In that Parliament of 1880 Mr. ParneHs follow 

only numbered, for effective purposes of obstruction, some twei 

or twenty -live votes. Under these circumstances, undoubted 

the Conservative party opposed the introduction of what i 

called t he cloture as a startling and unnecessary innovation. T 

is so. I do not deny it. Those were the circumstances. The 

servatives may have been right or they may have been wpoi 


with, that we have nothing to do. What we have to do with is 
the change that has come over the state of affairs. What have 
fou now ? You have the most tremendous change ! It is not 
change : io is absolute transformation of political circumstances. 
Instead of the two parties being united against the Repeal of the 
Union, the project of Repeal has been embraced and advocated 
yj a great majority of the Liberal party. They have embraced 
t, and they advocate the policy of repeal passionately, violently, 
lesperately, and they are prepared to go to any length to attain 
iiheir end. Instead of the two great parties in the State being 
united for the purpose of putting down wilful and deliberate 
obstruction, the great proportion of the Radical Separatists 
not only tolerate wilful and deliberate obstruction and coun- 
tenance it, but many of them take part in it, and some of them 
lead it. The two great parties are no longer united in support 
of, and to strengthen the authority of the Chair — so far from 
tf»at, the Chair can look for no support whatever from the 
Radical Separatists or from their leaders. I come to the 
latest change of all. Mr. Parnells party, which in the Par- 
**Hent of 1880 only numbered some twenty or twenty-five, 
>^v numbers eighty to eighty-three or eighty-four votes. 
^•hty-three or eighty-four votes for effective purposes of 
*Xeral, wilful, and deliberate obstruction of all public business. 
*»t is the great change, the greatest change of all, added on to 
^ other changes ; and Mr. Parnell has given you fair notice in 
^I>eech in Dublin, which was received with enthusiasm by the 
**t;y which he leads, that it is their avowed determination, and 
^4 they have it in their power, to render all legislation and 
I transaction of public business impossible until you have 
"^uted them the Irish Parliament which they claim. That is 
L ^ state of affairs. Those are the circumstances ; and I feel 
tl *t&in that a very large body of persons in this country have 
l ^nged their minds about the cloture. These features of 
***r Parliament at the present are dangers to the State of 
°*nentous importance. In your Parliament — the fortress of 
**** liberties, the citadel of all your privileges and all your rights 
-you have a band of determined enemies, some two hundred 
**>ng, who are determined, unless they attain their object, to 

H 2 


destroy that Parliament, to degrade the authority and to paralyse 
the efficiency of that House of Commons which daring eight 
centuries has moulded your national life and guided your im T 
perial career. Not only have they avowed their intention of 
doing this, but they have already begun to put it into 
practice, and they have already shown their power. I wish 
you could read, all of you, a mo3t admirable article in the 
w Quarterly Review ' of this last October, which gives a graphic 
and truthful delineation of the scenes which took place in the 
House of Commons in that short session which is just over — 
scenes which never could be reported accurately in the public 
press. I sat through that session steadily. I watched carefully 
every event — small and great— -of that session, and as the 
mask fell from the Irish countenances at times, and as the 
Radical Separatists, recklessly sometimes, disclosed their real 
intentions, I confess that, with respect to this closing of debate 
the scales fell entirely from my eyes, and all doubt on the subject 
was for ever removed from my mind. 

What I have to ask you is this. You who have sustained 
a tremendous struggle, and sustained that struggle victoriously 
hitherto, upon you reposes the guardianship and the custody of 
every institution which Englishmen have been accustomed to 
hold dear. If you fail, if you are beaten, if you are dissipated, 
then all those institutions will rapidly go. What I want to 
know is this. Are you, who have fought the battle of the 
Union victoriously so far — are you going to recoil from measures 
which are absolutely essential if you would carry that battle 
to a successful issue, and if you would wish your posterity to 
reap the fruits of your labour and of your endurance ? Speak- 
ing broadly, my lords and gentlemen, this is the issue which is 
before you. There are the proverbial three courses. You can, 
in the first place, by your attitude encourage the House of 
Commons to reform procedure in such a manner as shall give 
to the House of Commons the power of closing debate at the 
will of a majority. Or there is a second course. You can by 
your attitude encourage the House of Commons to do no busi- 
ness, to pass no legislation, to have constant disorderly scenes 
in their midst, and to have repeated conflicts with the Chair 


and discreditable wrangles of every sort and kind. That is the 
second course which you can encourage the House of Com- 
mons to take. And there is a third course. You can grant 
Home Rule, and repeal the Union right away. You say 
c Never ' ; but you are bound under the present circumstances 
to look facts in the face; you must not, if you would 
act patriotically, if you would act fairly by your country, 
you must not blind your eyes to glaring facts simply because 
those facts are*disagreeable to think of, and because they in- 
volve measures which from some points of view you dislike. 
You must choose, and you cannot help choosing, between those 
three courses I have pointed out to you. Tray remember this, 
that the second course of doing nothing, of passing no legisla- 
tion, and of allowing your Honse of Commons to be degraded, 
must inevitably lead to the third course — namely, the repeal of 
the Union. I say this without fear of reproach, and without 
fear of exciting your displeasure. If your representatives in 
Parliament are not courageous enough to adopt this policy of 
taking measures for strengthening the House of Commons and 
for putting down obstruction in the House of Commons — if you 
are not courageous enough for that, then you are not courageous 
enough to sustain a successful fight against Repeal. Believe 
me, it is only by a simple and effective form of closing debates 
in the House of Commons, according to the will of a majority, 
that Parliament can regain its lost efficiency ; it is only in 
that way that the character of Parliament, so much fallen and 
so much lost, can be restored ; and if you shrink from the 
measures which are necessary — and I am not surprised that 
many ingenious arguments should be advanced against such 
proposals — if you are persuaded by those arguments, remember 
you have to deal with enemies who will shrink from nothing, 
who are absolutely unscrupulous, who are absolutely unprin- 
cipled, and who hope and who intend, if they can, by the utter 
smash-up of all your Parliamentary arrangements, to extort 
from a disheartened, from a disappointed, from a wearied, and 
from a sickened people that independent Irish Parliament 
which is the summit of their ambition, and which, owing to 
your action up to now, they have failed to obtain. It is my 


business, it is my duty, to point out these facts to yon — I 
point out to you the dangers which lie ahead, and the natu juh 
of the struggle you have still to undergo, and the means wher ^ 
by those dangers may be averted, and that straggle niirrnni u 
fully terminated. More than that I cannot do. The decisi«^z>n 
of questions like this lies first with yonr representatives in 
Parliament and afterwards with you. I have done my dum. ty 
when I have placed the matter fairly, accurately, and fu~17y 
before you, and told you of the measures which, in the opinion 
of the Government, it is absolutely necessary to adopt. I fee/ 
so seriously on this question, that I will not hesitate to ran the 
risk of the reproach of arrogance and conceit in reminding 
you — who are at any rate a patient and indulgent audience 
— that it has alreadly been my lot, it has been granted to 
me through what has been only a short political career, to 
judge more than once rightly on |>olitical questions as regards 
their import and their nature, an 1 it is in the confidence— con- 
fidence which I feel partly owin .• to your kind reception of me 
this evening and partly to othjr causes — that I can, without 
arousing your displeasure, make that claim. I implore yon to 
face this great question, this question of Parliamentary proce- 
dure — the state of your Parliament — to face it fully and frankly, 
to deal with it without timidity and without doubt. Deal with 
it now, when, so to speak, you are, from a Parliamentary and 
political point of view, young ; deal with it while the golden 
moments of youth remain to you, while you are strong, while 
you are flushed with memories of victory, while inspired and 
confident with hopes for the future ; deal with it while circum- 
stances are favourable to you ; deal with it while your judg- 
ment is sound, while your powers of decision remain unimpaired. 
Do not allow yourselves to postpone this question. Do not 
allow yourselves to be put off with half-measures and temporary 
expedients such as are sure to be suggested by timid minds, 
but such as you know or ought to know in your hearts will fail, 
and such as I tell you must fail, to attain their purpose. If 
you postpone the question, the result of such procrastinating 
conduct will be that when you have been weakened by constant 
failure, when you have been distracted by reiterated defeat, 


the time for a general election again draws nigh, and 
. the country has seen that all your promises or most of 
have been unredeemed, then I tell you you will ask, and 
rill ask in vain, and you will ask too late, for those real 
wroper remedies which you ought to have adopted earlier 
before. We, the Government, shall not be liable in this 
sr, I think, to any reproach or responsibility as far as we 
oncerned. We have placed before the country a practical, 
mine, and an honest programme of policy, both for domes- 
ad foreign affairs, and we have indicated to you clearly 
Vankly and faithfully the preliminary measures we con- 
indispensable if that programme is to be hopefully 
i in hand or successfully carried out. There is nothing in 
programme which could alienate or even alarm any reason- 
or moderate man. It is my unalterable conviction that if 
upporters of the present Government — not only those who 
>rt them from ties of party, but those who give them an 
tendent support — if they are able to display the great 
ties of decision, courage, and united purpose — qualities 
>ut which this difficult crisis cannot be safely traversed — 
I say it is my conviction that there are many long years 
>re — for Great Britain and for Ireland — of peace, progress, 



House op Commons, January 27, 1887. 

[The most important of the circumstances attending the resigna- 
tion of Lord Randolph Churchill are dealt with in the introduction 
to this work. It is only necessary to explain here that the 
resignation was announced on December 23, 1886, and that on 
the 31st Lord Hartington had a prolonged interview with Lord 
Salisbury, the result of which was that, while Lord Hartington 
himself declined to join the Ministry, he recommended Mr. Goschen 
to do so. On January 3, Mr. Gos lien accepted the post of Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, on the distinct understanding that * he had 
not become a Conservative ' (Times, January 4, 1887). It was, 
however, found absolutely necessary for the Conservative party to 
procure a seat for Mr. Goschen. Earl Percy therefore retired from 
the representation of St. George's, Hanover Square — the safest Tory 
constituency in all London — and Mr. Goschen was returned.] 

MR. SPEAKER, when a member of this House who has held 
office in the Administration has been compelled to resign 
that office, the House of Commons usually permits and expects 
some explanation of the reasons and causes of that act. If 
it should be the good pleasure of the House to-night to receive 
such an explanation, I am informed by Lord Salisbury that I 
am possessed of the gracious permission of the Sovereign to place 
before the House certain facts bearing on my resignation of the 
office of Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Speaker, I resigned 
that office on the 20th of December last, because I was altogether 
unable to become responsible for the estimates which were 
presented by the departments for the support of the army and 
the navy in the coming year. Of course, sir, it would be idle to 
deny what has, I fancy, become fairly well known — that there were 


ether matters of grave importance on which it was my misfor- 
tune to hold opinions differing from those of Lord Salisbury. 
Those were matters, in my opinion, perfectly susceptible of 
accommodation ; but this question of the estimates, on which I 
resigned, was incapable of such accommodation, for the reason, 
Sir, that I was deeply and repeatedly pledged by many a speech 
which I had made in various parts of the country to a policy of 
retrenchment and economy ; because I was convinced from what 
I had learnt at the Treasury that such a policy was not only 
necessary but perfectly feasible; and because, viewing those 
pledges, it was impossible for me usefully to retain the office of 
Chancellor of the Exchequer in a Government in whose policy 
effective retrenchment found no place. It is not my intention 
to analyse in any degree the expenditure of this country 
at the present moment, and indeed it is my desire to make 
my remarks on this occasion as brief and as concise as they 
possibly can be ; because, in the first place, the patience of 
the House has limits, and, in the second place, if I were to try 
to make an explanation of an over-elaborate character, such an 
explanation might tend to degenerate into a kind of indictment 
of the Government which I think, on the whole, would be 
neither useful nor becoming. But I may state this fact — that the 
amount of the estimates which were presented to me by the two 
departments as Chancellor of Exchequer exceeded 31,000,000/. 
for the coming year for the support of the army and navy ; and 
there is another fact which I must mention, because it influenced 
me very materially. I had also to give my consent, and I 
did give my consent, although a reluctant one, to unusually 
large supplementary estimates for those two services. Before I 
left the Government I consented that there should be presented 
to Parliament supplementary estimates amounting to 300,000/. 
for the navy, close upon half a million for the army, and another 
half a million for expenses connected with the army in Egypt ; 
and I thought that those unusually large supplementary 
estimates formed an additional and grave reason for the reduc- 
tion of the naval and military expenditure in the coming year. 
J wish to put briefly before the House my view of that posi- 
tion which I endeavoured to take up. My view of the position 


was this — that the expenditure for the year now expiring sod 
the expenditure for the preceding year, on armaments and on 
naval and military purposes^ was expenditure of a distinctly ab- 
normal character, and that it was the duty of the Government to 
make an effort to commence to return to what I will call mote 
normal expenditure. I will explain by two figures only what I 
mean by normal and abnormal expenditure. If you take the 
ten years from 1874 to 1884, you will find the average expendi- 
ture on the Army and Navy amounted to 25,000,000/. a year; 
that standard was closely adhered to during those ten years. If 
you take the three years 1885-6, 1886-7, and the coming year 
1887-8, you will find that the average expenditure has risen 
from 25,000,000/. to over 31,000,000*.— an increase perfectly 
sudden, of about 6,000,000*. That the House will see was no 
light matter, and the honourable gentlemen who sit round me, 
and who may naturally enough be disposed to take a somewhat 
unfavourable view of my action, will admit that it is no small 
matter and no small difference which divided me from Her 
Majesty's Government. The right way to appreciate the mag- 
nitude of that difference is to turn the 6,000,000/. into taxa- 
tion. What does it mean in taxation? Why, such an in- 
crease means a sum exceeding by 1 ,600,000/. the entire produce 
of the tea duty ; it means a sum equal to two-thirds of the 
tobacco duty ; it means a sum equal to three-fourths of the 
beer duty, and a sum equal to six-sevenths of the death duty. 
If you like to look at the increase in another way, and place 
on direct taxation this increase of 6,000,000/. — an increase, a 
sudden jump, of taxation in time of peace — it will mean an 
increase of 3rf. in the income tax. I only mention that point in 
order to show that it was upon a question of exceedingly large 
magnitude on which I resigned, and one which, in my opinion, 
went to the very root of government and policy. 

There has been, I think, a good deal of misconception as to 
the nature of the demand which I thought it my duty to make 
upon the two departments. People supposed that I expected 
that that large increase should be immediately reduced, but mv 
right honourable friend the First Lord of the Treasury and the 
uoble lord the First Lord of the Admiralty will bear me out in 


saying that I made no such demand. I never expected that 
any very large redaction could be immediately made, nor did I 
even expect that we should be ever able to get back to the 
average expenditure of the ten years I have quoted. My right 
honourable friends will fully confirm me in this — that the only 
request which I made was that they should make a sensible 
and appreciable effort, which should be expressed in pounds, 
shillings, and pence, to return, or to make a commencement to 
return, to a more normal expenditure for military and naval 
purposes. I named no figure ; I carefully avoided it. I left the 
amount entirely to the discretion, and judgment, and superior 
knowledge of my right honourable friends. In my mind — and 
I may have mentioned it casually in conversation without insist- 
ing upon it — I thought that a reduction of 1,000,000/. in a 
time of peace upon the naval and military expenses of the 
country would have been an adequate and satisfactory reduction ; 
but my right honourable friends know perfectly well that I 
should not have made any obstinate quarrel about 100,000/., 
200,000/., or even 300,000/. In fact, I really believe, if the 
worst came to the worst, I should have been satisfied with a 
reduction of half a million. It was only when I found from the 
views which my right honourable friends took of the position 
that they were absolutely unable to make even the commence- 
ment of an effort to return to a more normal state of expenditure 
—it was only then, Sir, I was forced by a power greater than 
party ties — forced by what I said in the country, forced by the 
knowledge I acquired at the Treasury — to offer my resignation 
to Lord Salisbury. I would mention two details which struck 
me as most unsatisfactory. The Army Estimates showed a 
reduction of 300,000/., connected with the expenses of the 
military occupation in Egypt, and yet, in spite of that, the 
total of the Army Estimates showed an increase of 300,000/. 
Tliat I did not understand, and there was a detail in the 
Admiralty Estimates which weighed with me very much. My 
xioMe friend the First Lord of the Admiralty showed a re- 
duction of 500,000/. upon the total Estimates for the Navy ; 
lout the whole of that was taken off one vote — the important 
vote for machinery ; and my argument was this — if so large a 


reduction were possible on one item, surely some reduction might 
be made on other votes if they were carefully overhauled. I 
know it has been said I made impossible demands. I cannot 
pronounce whether they were possible or impossible. My own 
belief is that where there is a will there is a way, and the 
accuracy of the maxim may be proved by what took place in 
1869, when the Government of the day and the Parliament 
of the day were under the impression that the military and 
naval expenditure of the country had reached an abnormal 
level. So strong was that impression, and so resolute was 
the Government of the day, that the Estimates in 1870 for 
these purposes, as compared with the Estimates of 1868, showed 
a reduction of no less than 4,000,000/. I never asked for or 
expected such a reduction as that. I thought I was reasonably 
entitled to ask that some reduction should be made in time 
of peace. There has been another misconception which I am 
anxious to clear away, and that is that I was supposed to have 
resigned upon the Budget. My resignation had nothing what- 
ever to do with the Budget. I never should have thought of 
resigning on the Budget. The Budget is a plan for providing 
for the public services of the year, and my idea is that if the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer produces a plan which is not agree- 
able to his colleagues, it is his business to modify it or alter it 
until it is agreeable. But certainly he has no right to cram any 
financial scheme of his down the throats of his colleagues. That 
had nothing to do with my resignation. I resigned upon totally 
different grounds — the expenditure of special departments of the 
Government. My right honourable friend the First Lord of the 
Treasury laid down in this House in 1883 a proposition with 
which I almost entirely agree. He then laid it down very 
positively that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was primarily 
and principally responsible for every figure in the Estimates. I 
do not disagree with that proposition. I think the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer must satisfy himself in his own mind on two 
points — first, that the demands put forward by the department 
do not exceed the necessities of the year ; and secondly, that 
the money which is voted by Parliament shall be expended in 
such a manner that the nation shall get full value for its money. 


Those, Sir, are two points which I think the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer ought to be satisfied upon, and it was upon those 
two points I utterly and hopelessly broke down. I could not 
satisfy myself as to these demands. I felt satisfied if the foreign 
policy of this country was a peaceful foreign policy the Estimates 
were too high. I felt quite certain that our foreign policy at 
the present moment ought to be a peaceful policy. I do not 
mean that kind of peace which is the flattering phrase of 
platform orations ; but I mean a genuine, effective, peaceful 
foreign policy which should be marked by the absence of un- 
necessary initiative, by an indisposition to interfere too promptly 
in European affairs, and, Sir, in fact, a policy of that character 
which should approach more nearly to the domain of non-inter- 
vention. Well, Sir, on this point I hold the strongest possible 
opinions, and I do not see my way to alter those opinions. But 
on the second point — namely, that the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer ought to be satisfied that the money Parliament votes is 
properly spent — I could feel no satisfactory assurance. In fact I 
had a suspicion — a feeling which I ought not to call a suspicion 
because it amounted almost to conviction — that the reverse was 
the case. 

This is not the time, it would not be a proper occasion to 
examine that matter more minutely ; but perhaps I may remind 
the House summarily that since 1883 we have had a series of 
what may be called departmental scandals, I believe, unpre- 
cedented in the history of this country. I will only run them 
over hastily on my fingers. In 1883 there was the expo- 
sure of scandalous defects in the Commissariat Department in 
Egypt in the first campaign. There was subsequently with re- 
spect to the second Egyptian campaign the exposure of the brittle 
swords, bent bayonets, and jamming cartridges. You then had 
in connection with the financial management of the Admiralty 
that grave scandal that attaches to the Government that left 
office in 1885, that the Admiralty was discovered to have spent 
a large amount without the knowledge of the Treasury, and 
apparently without its own knowledge. Then, Sir, you had the 
very serious evidence which was given to the House and the 
public by the total failure of three most expensive ships — the 


A;*-. ''-- Aki-tzi'e. and the Impfrieuse — to fulfil the 
-TTt-ir-a":"."* :: -i.-r:r c^iz^r*. although they had cost no less a :.-.i— :- i-i a ii.: ■:: c-rnrv. Then yon had — all these 
s.3i-Ii"- :".... -5-"-j ■:-- -p:n an-xher — the bursting' of several 
_-.:>. i:. : i'.. :h- chirks of inefficiency and worse than in- 
r±::rr.vT ^l::ii av^ii-ipa^-rd rh->se incidents. I took no part 
'.z. i':.r .::-:■ -.**::=.* in The H: use cpon any of these subjects; I 
-* .s :.■■• ."•.".::: rd :■:• take parr in such discussions, but I 
*.>-:er.e*i *■:• th-n a:v-r.::vely. and this series of rapidly suc- 
Qr—Y:r>j •lep-irrci-ira'. scandals prcdaced a most unpleasant and 
-v^n wr-rs^ e:!ect ujv'H my mind. I conld not feel any assur- 
ance whvev-r that that series of departmental scandals had 
made the *ame de*p impression upon the mind of my right 
honourable friend *Mr. W\ H. Smith), or upon the mind of my 
nobl- friend (Lord G. Hamilton). I do not say that the least 
bit t«.» in) pure blame to them : but these things did produce an 
imprest ai on my mind which I could not shake off. 

There i- r -nly one more question I should like to clear up if 
I may do so without trespassing on the time of the House. It 
has l»*en widely. stared, and on authority apparently, that 1 re- 
signt-d my office in haste: in fact. I have seen it stated that I 
resigned in a temper : and 1 observed that my resignation was 
designated by a Government organ as an escapade, whatever 
that may be. I should like to tell the House exactly what the 
facts are, because they should be known. This controv e rsy 
about expenditure has l>een going on between me, my right 
honourable friend, my noble friend the First Lord of the Ad- 
miralty, and the. Prime Minister, almost since the commencement 
of the Government. It has been going on in a perfectly friendly 
manner, and. indeed, nothing has occurred to diminish the 
friendly feeling which exists between my right honourable friends 
and myself. JJut, as a matter of fact, I brought my views on 
the questions of army and navy expenditure before Lord Salis- 
bury as long ago as the month of August last, in a conversation 
I had with him in Arlington Street. I expressed my views to 
him and told him how strongly I felt upon this subject. The 
House is aware that, in a speech at Dartford I specially alluded 
to t ho subject ; 1 alluded to it briefly but strongly ; and I think 


that the First Lord of the Treasury and the First Lord of the 
Admiralty were aware how strong a meaning I attached to my 
expressions on that occasion. In the month of October I went 
down to address a meeting at Bradford. The morning before I 
had another long conversation with the First Lord of the 
Treasury and with Lord Salisbury, also in Arlington Street, and 
again I indicated most clearly to them that unless there was an 
effort to reduce the expenditure it was impossible that I could 
remain at the Exchequer. About the middle of October 1 wrote 
to the First Lord of the Treasury and to the First Lord of the 
Admiralty, requesting them as a particular favour to get the 
Army and Navy Estimates prepared, so that they might be con- 
sidered by the Government before Christmas, because not only 
was I anxious that if these matters had to come before the 
Cabinet they should be considered while there was time and 
leisure to deal with them, but also that if the decision of the 
Cabinet as to the amount of the Estimates was to be against me 
I should not continue in my office, but should resign at such a 
moment as to give Lord Salisbury the most ample margin of 
time to make any appointment necessary before the meeting of 
Parliament. On December 13 I wrote to Lord Salisbury that 
from all I heard I feared he would have before long to decide 
between the great spending departments and the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. On Thursday, December 16, I had another 
protracted conversation with Lord Salisbury upon the whole 
question, in which I clearly indicated to him that the matter 
was approaching a crisis. On Monday, December 20, the Esti- 
mates were communicated to me— the Navy Estimates by my 
noble friend in the morning, and the Army Estimates by my 
right honourable friend in the afternoon. It appeared to me 
that the position which they took up was one which admitted 
of no modification, of no alteration. I was aware of what the 
mind of the Prime Minister was on the subject. On Monday, 
December 20, I was put in a corner ; 1 had no option but to 
write to Lord Salisbury to resign my office. 

I have troubled the House with these facts because I want 
to show the House that the idea that my action was taken in a 
hurry is entirely wrong. I greatly doubt whether any Minister 


ever took action on any grave question more deliberately, after 
longer and more anxious consideration. Those who suppose 
that I could be capable of resigning the office of Chancellor of 
the Exchequer in a hurry or in a temper hardly do justice to 
their own judgment. There is no position open to a private 
individual prouder, or more honourable, than that of Chancellor 
of the Exchequer and leader of the House of Commons. It is 
not a position which any one is likely hastily to resign. I can 
assure my right honourable friends around me, it was a very 
hard and bitter thing for me to have to do, to sever my connec- 
tion with the Government and to resign a position so honourable, 
although so anxious and responsible. But I could not help it; 
I was pledged by speeches I had made. May I make this 
remark ? The relations which exist between the Ministry and 
the people are nowadays very direct and very close. Owing to 
the practice of holding those large meetings, which have become 
so general and so common, a Minister or a leader of the Opposi- 
tion is brought into close contact with the people. He discourses 
before them with the utmost freedom, and without much qualifi- 
cation, on public affairs. The practice may have its advantages 
or its disadvantages ; but the practice exists, and I cannot con- 
ceive anything more disastrous or ruinous, more fatal to the 
healthy tone of English public life, than that the people shouH 
take it into their heads that a Minister or a leader of the Oppo- 
sition, whoever he may be, who comes down to address them, 
thinks of nothing but exciting a momentary and a passing cheer, 
and leaves the meeting straightway forgetting what manner of 
man he was. 1 hope it will not have to be imputed to me with 
justice, or accuracy, that I, knowingly or intentionally, contribute** 
to produce such a belief. I have laid before the House as rapidlj" 
as 1 could the various reasons which forced me on December *2^ 
to write to Lord Salisbury a letter which I am permitted toreW 
The House will understand that a further opportunity will aris^ i 
for a more exhaustive and analytical examination of the expend *- 
ture of the country, and I will not anticipate that opportunity^ 
All I do is to lay briefly before the House the reasons whir' 
forced me to leave the Government. On December 20 I wrot^ 
to Lord Salisbury : — 


* Dear Lord Salisbury, — The approximate estimates for the 
Army and Navy for next year have been to-day communicated 
to me by George Hamilton and Smith. They amount to 
31,000,000*.— 12,500,000*. for the Navy, and 18,500,000*. for 
the Army. The Navy votes show a decrease of nearly 500,000*., 
but this is to a great extent illusory, as there is a large increase 
in the demand made by the Admiralty upon the War Office for 
guns and ammunition. The Army estimates thus swollen show 
an increase of about 300,000*. The total 31,000,000*. for the 
two services, which will in all probability be exceeded, is very 
greatly in excess of what I can consent to. I know that on this 
subject I cannot look for any sympathy or effective support from 
you, and I am certain that I shall find no supporters in the 
Cabinet. I do not want to be wrangling and quarrelling in the 
Cabinet, and therefore I must request to be allowed to give up 
my office and retire from the Government. I am pledged up to 
the eyes to large reductions of expenditure, and 1 cannot change 
my mind on this matter. If the foreign policy of this country 
is conducted with skill and judgment our present huge and in- 
creasing armaments are quite unnecessaiy, and the taxation 
which they involve perfectly unjustifiable. The War Estimates 
might be very considerably reduced if the policy of expenditure 
on the fortifications and guns and garrisons of military ports, 
mercantile ports, and coaling-stations were abandoned or modi- 
fied. But of this I see no chance, and under these circumstances 
I cannot continue to be responsible for the finances. I am sure 
you will agree that I am right in being perfectly frank and 
straightforward on this question, to which I attach the very 
utmost importance ; and, after all, what I have written is only a 
repetition of what I endeavoured to convey to you in conversa- 
tion the other day. 

4 Believe me to be yours most sincerely, 

'Randolph S. Churchill/ 

I wrote that letter on December 20, and on December 22 
— late in the evening — I received the following reply from Lord 
Salisbury, which I am permitted to read to the House : — 

vol. n. i 


'Hat Held House, Hatfield, Herts: December 22, 1886. 
c My dear Randolph, — I have your letter of the 20th from 
Windsor. You tell me, as you told me orally on Thursday, that 

1,000,000/. for the two services is very greatly in excess of what 
you can consent to ; that you are pledged up to the eyes to large 
reductions of expenditure and cannot change your mind in the 
matter ; and that, as you feel certain of receiving no support 
from me or from the Cabinet in this view, you must resign your 
oflice and withdraw from the Government. On the other hand, 

1 have a letter from Smith telling me that he feels bound to 
adhere to the estimates which he showed you on Monday; and 
that, he declines to postpone, as you had wished him to do, the 
expenditure which he thinks necessary for the fortific ation of 
coaling stations, military ports, and mercantile ports. f.n this 
unfortunate state of things I have no choice but to express my 
full concurrence with the views of Hamilton and Smith, and mv 
dissent from yours — though I say it, both on personal and public 
grounds, with very deep regret. The outlook on the Continent is 
very black. It is not too much to say that the chances are in 
favour of war at an early date ; and, when war has once broken 
out, we cannot be secure from the danger of being involved in jt. \ 
The undefended state of many of our ports and coaling stations 

is notorious; and the necessity of protecting them has been 
urged by a strong Commission and has been admitted on both 
sides in debate. To refuse to take measures for their protection 
would be to incur the greatest possible responsibility. Speaking 
more generally, I should hesitate to refuse at this time any snpplies 
which men so moderate iu their demands as Smith and Hamilton 
declare to be necessary for the safety of the country. The issue 
is so serious that it thrusts aside all personal and party con- 
siderations. But I regret more than I can say the view yon 
take of it ; for no one knows better than you how injurious to 
the public interests at this juncture your withdrawal from the 
Government may be. Jn the presence of your very strong and 
decisive language I can only again express my very profound 

4 Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

4 Salisbury.' 



The House will see that that letter is absolutely final and 
conclusive. Lord Salisbury did not demur to my suggestion 
that it was no use bringing the matter before the Cabinet. 
Lord Salisbury did not request that the whole matter might 
be placed before him as First Lord of the Treasury in order that 
he might personally examine it. He expressed his entire con- 
currence with the spending departments and his total dissent 
from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he said that under 
the circumstances he had nothing to propose and nothing to do 
but to express his deep regret. The House will see that that 
was a letter which brought things to a conclusion. Therefore, 
on December 22, on the same evening, I thus wrote to Lord 
Salisbury : — 

' Carlton Club : December 22, 1886. 

* Dear Lord Salisbury, — I have to acknowledge the receipt 
of your letter of to-day's date accepting my resignation of the 
Chancellorship of the Exchequer. I feel sure you will believe 
me when I express my deep and abiding appreciation of the un- 
varying kindness which you have shown me, and of the patience 
and indulgence with which you have always listened to the 
views on various public matters which I have from time to time 
submitted to you. The great question of public expenditure is 
not so technical or departmental as might be supposed by a 
superficial critic. Foreign policy and free expenditure upon 
armaments act and re-act upon one another. I believe myself 
to be well-informed on the present state of Europe ; nor am I 
aware that I am blind or careless to the probabilities of a great 
conflict between European Powers in the coming year. A wise 
foreign policy will extricate England from continental struggles, 
and keep her outside of German, Russian, French, or Austrian 
disputes. I have for some time observed a tendency in the 
Government attitude to pursue a different line of action, which I 
have not been able to modify or check. This tendency is certain 
to be accentuated if large estimates are presented to and voted 
by Parliament. The possession of a very sharp sword offers a 
temptation which becomes irresistible to demonstrate the effi- 
ciency of the weapon in a practical manner. I remember the vul- 
nerable and scattered character of the empire, the universality 

i 2 


of our commerce, the peaceful tendencies of our democratic 
electorate, the hard times, the pressure of competition, and the 
high taxation now imposed, and with these factors vividly before 
me I decline to be a party to encouraging the military and 
militant circle of the War Office and Admiralty to join in the 
high and desperate stakes which other nations seem to be forced 
to risk. Believe me, I pray you, that it is not niggardly cheese- 
paring or Treasury crabbedness, but only considerations of high 
State policy which compel me to sever ties in many ways most 
binding and pleasant. /A 7 careful and continuous examination 
and study of national finance, of the startling growth of expen- 
diture, of national taxation resources, and endurance, has brought 
me to the conclusion, from which nothing can turn me, that it 
is only the sacrifice of a Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the 
altar of thrift and economy which can rouse the people to take 
stock of their leaders, their position, and their future. The cha- 
racter of the domestic legislation which the Government contem- 
plate, in my opinion, falls sadly short of what the Parliament 
and the country expect and require. The foreign policy* which 
is being adopted appears to me at once dangerous and method- 
less, but I take my stand on expenditure and finance, which 
involve and determine all other matters, and, reviewing my former 
public declarations on this question, and having no reason to 
doubt their soundness, I take leave of your Government, and 
especially of yourself, with profound regret, but without doubt 
or hesitation, r 

' Yours most sincerely, 

1 Randolph S. Cburchiu.' 

1 have now placed before the House the causes of my resig- 
nation, and 1 have sincerely to thank the House for the indulgence 
which has been accorded to me. 


House op Commons, January 31, 1887. 

[Some of the warnings contained in the following speech were 
hotly resented at the time, but the justice of most of them was 
admitted even before the close of the year. The celebrated * Round 
Table Conference ' was held at Sir William Harcourt's house — the 
party consisting of Sir W. Harcourt himself, Mr. J. Morley, Mr. 
Chamberlain, and Sir George Trevelyan. All attempts to reconcile 
the Liberal Unionists with the bulk of the party utterly broke 
down, but Sir George Trevelyan found it possible to satisfy himself 
that Mr. Gladstone had made reasonable concessions, and was soon 
afterwards rewarded with a Gladstonian seat in Parliament. The 
comparison of the Liberal Unionists to a ' useful kind of crutch ' lias 
derived fresh significance from subsequent events. The history of 
the ' Round Table Conference ' proves that even at this early period 
the * crutch ' was very nearly breaking down. 

Some important suggestions with regard to the Estimates were 
made in this speech, and the untruthfulness of the assertion that 
Lord Randolph resigned on the question of arming the coaling 
stations was exposed. But too many powerful persons were in- 
terested in having the assertion continually repeated to admit of the 
denial producing much effect at the moment.] 

THE battle of the Union may be over in Ireland, but it is not 
over in England. The battle of the Union has still to 
be fought out in England. There are various ways of maintain- 
ing the Union. There is a certain school of Unionists who, I 
think, are at the present moment imitating the conduct of the 
old Ephesians, who thought they could resist and check the new 
religion by perambulating the streets for hours, crying out, 
* Great is Diana of the Ephesians ! ' And there are some persons 
at the present time who, by constantly clamouring and talking 


of the Union, and denouncing any one who they think is endan- 
gering the Union, think that they can maintain the Union for ail 
time. That would not be the method that I would recommend 
to honourable members on this side of the House. Honourable 
members on this side of the House profess to be anxious to main- 
tain the legislative union between England and Ireland. Op- 
posite to them sits the party of Repeal. They are your opponents 
now ; but if you fail to retain your hold on the English people 
they and their policy will be your successors. I believe that the 
right way to' maintain the Union is to identify the Government 
of the Union — the party of the Union — in the minds of the 
English people with good government, with efficient adminis- 
tration, and with progressive legislation. But if, unfortunately, 
it should happen that the Government and party of the Union 
should become identified in the minds of the English people with 
the reverse of those three factors, or should fall short of the 
standard to which the English people in these respects are look- 
ing, then I greatly fear that before long — possibly sooner than 
some may expect —down will go your Government, down will go 
your party, and, with them, down will go that Union to which 
you profess to be so devoted. I notice a tendency on the part 
of the party of the Union to attach too much importance to 
precarious Parliamentary alliances which are as transient and 
uncertain as the shifting wind, and too little to the far more 
important question — how to keep the English people at the back 
of the party of the Union. When I was in the Government I made 
it my constant thought and desire to make things as easy as pos- 
sible for the Liberal Unionists, to advocate the introduction of 
such measures as they might conscientiously sapport as being 
in accordance with their general principles, and to make such 
electoral arrangements as might enable them to preserve their 
seats. But I frankly admit that I regarded the Liberal Unionists 
as a useful kind of crutch, and I looked forward to the time, and 
no distant time, when the Tory party might walk alone, strong 
in its own strength and conscious of its own merits ; and it waa 
to the Tory party, mainly, that I looked for the maintenance of 
the Union. If the Tory party want to know the danger of their 
position they have only to watch carefully the negotiations which 


the right honourable gentleman opposite ! is conducting at the 
Round Table with the right honourable gentleman the member 
for West Birmingham, 2 who is acting, as far as I am aware, with 
the knowledge and not without the consent of the noble lord oppo- 
site. 3 So greatly is the right honourable gentleman the member 
for West Birmingham enamoured of the progress of the negotia- 
tions, with such hope and confidence does he regard them, that he 
is not satisfied with the Round Table ; he purposes that it should 
be a rounder and a larger table, at which Lord Salisbury is to meet 
the right honourable gentleman the member for Mid-Lothian, and 
the noble marquis opposite is to meet the honourable member 
for Cork, and there, after sweet converse, devise a scheme for the 
future government of Ireland. I do not know what are the 
feelings of honourable members on this side of the House, but I 
know that my own feeling with regard to these proceedings of 
the right honourable member for West Birmingham is that he is 
pursuing an erroneous and mistaken course. Honourable mem- 
bers on this side of the House will, I think, never follow a line of 
policy which by any reasonable construction can create in Dublin 
anything in the nature of an Irish Parliament. That is the clear 
position of the Tory party. That is the position from which 
under no pretence of local self-government shall we depart, and 
it would be well for the right honourable gentleman the member 
for Birmingham, who is now indulging in such extraordinary 
gyrations, to recognise that, whatever schemes of Home Rule 
for Ireland may commend themselves to him, they are not, under 
any circumstances, likely to commend themselves to members on 
this side of the House. 

I pass on to glance at the programme of legislation contained 
in the gracious Speech. I observe a strong family resemblance 
between that programme in the Queen's Speech and the pro- 
gramme set forth in a certain speech made in Kent not long 
ago, 4 though the speech was at the time it was made declared by 
certain organs to have no Ministerial authority. The programme 

1 8ir W. Harcourt, who has since given a remarkable account of these 

* Mr. Chamberlain. • The Marquis of Hartington. 

4 The Dartford speech, $uj>ra % p. 68. 


I consider to be an ample and abundant programme. Of 
course it is impossible to judge of the merits of that programme 
merely by the titles of the Bills ; but I have hope that those 
Bills, when produced, will be found to contain much that is 
good and much that is wise, and that if there should be por- 
tions of those measures which fall short of what is required, 
the Government will be glad to be guided by the wisdom of 
Parliament. I turn to another part of the Queen's Speech which 
more closely concerns me- the paragraph which states that the 
Estimates will be laid before the House and framed with due 
regard to economy and efficiency. It is a curious thing that 
this last statement with regard to the Estimates being framed 
with due regard to economy and efficiency had almost fallen into 
disuse. It is very rarely used nowadays. I suppose it is the 
strong proclivities of the present Government that have rescued 
it almost from oblivion. But I must say that I regard it as very 
like the manoeuvre of waving a red flag to a bull, for if the 
Estimates are framed with due regard to economy and efficiency 
they must have been greatly altered since I left the Cabinet. It 
is quite possible that there may have been some alteration, because 
I observe that Lord Salisbury, speaking in another place, was 
good enough to say that I, in common with all other public men 
— and of course he included himself as one of the most public 
men in the country — was deeply impressed with what he called 
the rapid and most injurious increase of public expenditure. 
Really I believe that this is the first indication I have ever had 
from Lord Salisbury that he was of that opinion. I look upon 
it as a distinct advance ; and I am not at all disinclined to take 
the credit of his conversion to myself. At any rate I take those 
words ' most injurious/ and I commend them to the attention of 
the House of Commons. When the head of the Government 
admits in his place in Parliament that the rise in expenditure 
has lx*en ' most injurious,' it is certain that he is prepared to 
co-operate with Parliament in reducing public expenditure. 
Parliament is absolutely impotent to promote economy unless 
the Government lead the way. We may be of opinion that 
the expenditure of this country is abnormal and exceptional, 
but how are we to give effect to that opinion ? Are we to move 


an amendment to the Address or resolutions in the House to 
that effect? That would be a resolution or an amendment 
which the Government would be bound to treat as a hostile 
motion, and which, if carried, would terminate the existence of 
the Government. No one on this side of the House would be 
free to initiate or to take part in any act of this character. As 
far as regards getting Parliament to pronounce an opinion 
on the expenditure of the country, that mode of action is 
out of our power. Therefore we are thrown upon the ordinary 
proceedings in committee of supply. What takes place ? A 
Minister comes down with the Army or Navy Estimates. He 
makes a long statement, probably of an optimistic character, 
which, as a rule, is listened to by a thin House ; and the members 
who listen are so exhausted at the end of the statement that they 
are quite incapable of discussing the contents of that statement. 
Then suppose that we adduce a number of facts tending to show 
great extravagance on the part of the department. What takes 
place ? In those statements of ours there would probably be 
something that was inaccurate as well as things that were accu- 
rate. The Minister gets up ; he fastens upon their inaccuracies ; 
he proves them to be such with every appearance of virtuous 
indignation, and he sits down amid Ministerial cheers, uniformly 
overlooking all that was accurate or valuable in the facts sub- 
mitted to him. The next morning the papers would have some- 
thing to this effect : * The First Lord of the Admiralty (or the 
Secretary of State, as the case might be) satisfactorily and finally 
disposed of the frivolous and absurd charges brought before the 
Committee by the honourable member for Paddington.' That 
would be the result of our efforts to promote economy. So the 
expenditure goes gaily on. I say therefore that I am right in 
holding that unless the Government leads the way Parliament 
is absolutely impotent. I have a suggestion to make to the First- 
Lord of the Treasury which he may be able to consider. It is 
that the discussion of the Army and the Navy Estimates, and 
indeed the discussion of Ministerial statements connected with 
the Estimates generally, would be improved, and the House 
would be enormously assisted, if the Minister in charge of 
Estimates, instead of making a long speech, which is only the 


reading of a written document, were to circulate with the 
Estimates, or some days before the discussion of them, the written 
statement which he would otherwise read in the House. Then 
members would come down to the discussion of the Estimates, 
having had ample time and opportunity to get up the facts, and 
fully prepared to initiate and sustain a useful discussion of 
great public questions. 1 I commend this suggestion to the 
consideration of my right honourable friend. It is a course 
I have for some time wished to see adopted, and I really think 
it would be a convenience and a saving of time. My right 
honourable friend was good enough to say in answer to me, and 
to say it in a speech of generosity and kindness, for which I 
desire to thank him, that he would welcome any assistance from 
me in the direction of economy, and would place all information 
at my disposal or that of the House, and would give us every 
facility, either by way of special discussion or committee or 
commission, for arriving at the true reasons of this great increase 
of expenditure. Encouraged by that invitation of my right 
honourable friend, I make another suggestion which he and the 
Government may consider. The fact of the increase of six 
millions in the Army and Navy Estimates as compared with three 
years ago is not disputed, and I would suggest that, in order to 
meet the apprehensions of the House and of the people, my 
right honourable friend should be content to produce the Esti- 
mates, should take the first votes in each, and should then allow 
them to go to a Committee of the House of Commons, to be 
thoroughly gone through by a powerful and properly constituted 
Committee that would be authorised to send for persona and 
records, to take evidence, and to get all necessary information. I 
believe that that is a course which the House would be inclined 
to support, which the public would approve, and which would 
have the advantage that it would relieve the Government from the 
responsibility for the increase, which responsibility they ought 
not. to bear, because it is an increase which they inherit, and 
it is not an increase for which they are personally responsible.* 

1 This suggestion was adopted, to the great convenience and advantage of 
all who had to study the Army and Navy Estimates. 

2 This led to the appointment of select committees on the Army and Navy 
Estimates, the evidence taken before which is of the utmost value to all who 


I desire as a matter of personal explanation to allude to 
the question of the coaling stations, because I was unable to 
do so the other night. There seems to be a great deal of mis- 
apprehension about this question of the coaling stations. I 
never resigned upon the question of the coaling stations — never. 
In conversation with my right honourable friend — and long 
conversations we had — we went through the Army Estimates 
item by item, and my right honourable friend was of opinion that 
not one of those items could be reduced. At the end of a conver- 
sation, when I asked him whether it was quite impossible to 
make the smallest reduction in the Army Estimates, he said 
there was only one item, of 400,000Z., on which a reduction 
could be made, and its reduction he would never consent to, as 
it was the vote for fortifying the coaling stations. In the 
correspondence with Lord Salisbury I mentioned that this was 
an item in which a reduction might be made if the policy of 
the Government could be reconciled with the reduction, and on 
that intimation Lord Salisbury, who is a master of the art of 
tactics, at once with cleverness identified my resignation with 
the question of the coaling stations. Really I never resigned 
upon the coaling stations, I resigned upon the broad question of 
retrenchment — whether there was to be retrenchment or there 
was not to be. I considered that I was absolutely pledged to 
retrenchment, and, unless the Government went in for it, it was 
impossible for me to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. I do not 
wish to say much about the coaling stations ; but I may take the 
opportunity of saying that if we are to adopt a policy of expendi- 
ture upon the fortification of coaling stations we shall be showing 
conclusively the utter baselessness of the well-known proverb 
that a burnt child dreads the fire. The House may not be 
aware that this year we come to the practical termination of 
the enormous terminable annuities — no less than five millions 
a year — which were created by Lord Palmerston to raise loans 
for fortifications ; there were other loans included, but the main 

wish to comprehend the system on which hoth Army and Navy are managed. 
In the first year, 1887, Lord Randolph Churchill was chairman of the com- 
mittee. Afterwards two committees were appointed, Lord Randolph continu- 
ing to preside over that dealing with Army Estimates. 


portion of the annuities which practically come to an end this 
year were for the loans for fortifications ; and it is not too mock 
to say that of that money which was expended upon fortifica- 
tions years and years ago, and which you have just paid oS, 
two-thirds or three-fourths of it was absolutely thrown into tie 
gutter. I think it is quite probable that if the right honoanble 
member for Mid-Lothian, when he was Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, and when he had that great dispute with Lori 
Palnierston in which Lord Palmerston said he would sooner 
lose Mr. Gladstone than lose Portsmouth Harbour — if he hid 
stuck to his guns, and had stood out against Lord Palmereton 
the country might have been saved the outlay of many million! 
As to the coaling stations, all I have to say is that, if yon cm 
show me that the moneys will not be wasted, that the engineers 
know how to construct scientific fortifications, and that you wiB 
arm them when they are constructed and maintain them in an 
efficient state, I shall have nothing to say against the policy: 
but I approach the question with the utmost apprehension and 
scepticism because of the previous experience of this country on 
the question, which certainly honourable gentlemen ought not 
to exclude from their consideration. It is a great question, 
worthy of the consideration of the House, whether the policy of 
the defence of the British Empire does not depend upon the 
lines of foreign policy which we adopt towards oth^r nations— 
not by any means a policy of cowardice, but a policy of the 
careful avoidance of all unnecessary entanglements. I wonW 
venture to repose the policy of the defence of the Empire on 
the patriotism and loyalty of a free and contented people, 
animated not so much by the strength of their fortifications as 
by their undying historic memories. I would prefer to repo* 
the defence of the British Empire upon a careful, thrifty, and 
frugal huslwnding in time of peace of national resources, in 
order that in time of war they may be exuberantly displayed in 
all their irresistible might. I am not at all clear that these 
general remarks do not indicate a safer and more economical 
policy for the defence of the Empire than that of throwing 
ourselves hysterically into the embraces of engineers, or of 
lying down pusillanitnously in a cemetery of earthworks. All 


I venture to deprecate is legislating or spending money in a 
hurry and under the influence of clamour. It is supposed that 
the working classes take no interest in this question, that any 
criticism of national expenditure is not popular because the 
working classes do not pay taxes. A lot of people come to me 
and say, ' You have taken a most unpopular line ; the working- 
classes do not care, they pay no taxes.' It seems necessary to 
point out, what has been pointed out before, that this question 
of expenditure concerns not only what the right hon. gentleman 
opposite calls the classes, but also deeply concerns the masses, 
because hon. gentlemen must bear this in mind — that out of 
every shilling's worth of tea which the workman purchases he 
pays 6d. to the Chancellor of the Exchequer ; that out of every 
shilling's worth of tobacco he pays 10rf., and out of every shilling's 
worth of beer he pays 2d. Now, I would ask my hon. friends 
on this side of the House who are prepared to defend a policy 
of large expenditure, Are you going to put this question of 
the fortification of the coaling stations or the increase of the 
army and navy to the test of popular opinion, are you going to 
test ite popularity by the imposition of new taxes ? Will you 
propose to meet this 6,000,000/. by a re-imposition of the sugar 
duties? That would be a very practical way of testing its 
popularity. Will you raise the tea duties, or will you test the 
fidelity of your friends the licensed victuallers and ask them to 
contribute to these fortifications of the empire by an increase, 
and a very proper increase, of the beer duty ? These are prac- 
tical questions which I invite my right hon. friend the First 
Lord of the Treasury to answer. It is no use turning round on 
me and saying, ' The whole country desires this expenditure, 
and you are wrong/ or that economy is old-fashioned and out of 
date, unless the Chancellor of the Exchequer is prepared to get 
up in his place at the table and put such expenditure on the 
mass of the tax-payers of the country. My right hon. friend and 
liis colleagues would be the last persons to propose that this ex- 
Jttnditure should be placed entirely on the income tax, and I am 
sure they would not contemplate for one moment a permanent 
maintenance of the income tax at 8d. in the pound in time of 
P**ce. •These are questions which I respectfully submit to the 


attention of the Government and Parliament. This great 
question of public economy is not to be disposed of by mere 
ad captandum statements, or by general denunciation of all 
persons who wish to bring the expenditure of the countir 
within normal limits. This is a matter which the Government 
must seriously consider. I feel perfectly certain thafc the atten- 
tion of the people is being concentrated on this great qu«*tion 
of expenditure, and I rejoice greatly that the right hon. gentle- 
man the member for Mid-Lothian refused, and very pruperly 
refused, the other night to identify himself with it for fear of 
making it a party question. He appealed to those on this side 
of the House, and I hope he did not appeal in vain — he appealed 
to the Conservative party, whose best traditions are connected 
with public economy — to take up this question and put pressure 
on the Government, so that the Government, with the support 
of both sides of the House, may lead the way to a more reason- 
able expenditure of public money and to a reduction of taxation. 
I know there are many hon. gentlemen on this side of the 
House, whose opinion and whose esteem I value, who an* 
greatly incensed against me for having taken the course I have 
done — for having resigned my place in the Government. They 
are severe in their criticism, sharp in their censure, and righteous 
in their wrath, when they consider my action. I can only say 
that I confidently believe that the progress of events will pro- 
bably modify that judgment. It is not the first time that it 
has been my evil fortune to wrestle with the Tory party. I 
remember only about four years ago that so greatly did I dis- 
please the Tory party that there was hardly one Conservative 
member who would give me at that time so much as a nod of 
recognition. Why was that ? I had proclaimed, I admit with 
much frankness, that 1 thought the Tory party was going wrong 
on a great principle. 1 have once more proclaimed, this time 
by action, my opinion that the Tory party is going wrong on 
the great question of expenditure, and again there appear all 
the charges of disloyalty, treachery, and such like, to which I 
am accustomed and to which I do not listen. I appeal on that 
subject to the tribunal of time. Any little political influence 
which I may possess — any little political strength which may 


have been given to me — has not hitherto been drawn, for any 
practical or permanent purpose, from within the walls of this 
House, or from within that circle whose centre is Pall Mall. 
No, Sir, it has come from outside. I appeal on this question to 
the just and generous judgment of the people. I know that I 
have sought for nothing, absolutely nothing, except to protect 
&nd promote their most material interests, and on this great 
question of economy and retrenchment I patiently wait for the 
judgment of my countrymen. 


Paddington, April 2, 1887. 

[This was the first occasion on which Lord Randolph Churchfl] 
met his constituents after his resignation, and hence he entered witJi 
some detail into his reasons for taking that step. The various 
sinister and evil motives which had been ascribed to him were 
briefly referred to, but personal jealousies and animosities were too 
powerful for a repudiation of these calumnies to receive fair con- 
sideration. This speech, however, caused considerable commotion 
in the great spending departments, and even those who had moat 
bitterly opposed reform began to profess themselves zealous converts 
to it. The policy advocated by Lord Randolph was no longer 
openly attacked, but it was not perceptibly advanced by those who 
had constituted themselves its new and unwilling champions. It wis 
justly pointed out in the following address that some of the conces- 
sions which had been refused to Lord Randolph in December 1886 
were made to Mr. Goschen in January 1887. This was the onlv 
material change that had occurred in the situation. 

It will be seen that there is a great deal in this speech which 
partakes of an autobiographical character, and which throws valuable 
light on the history of Lord Randolph's political opinions. 

The latter part of the speech dealt with the ' Home Rule ' ques- 
tion, and supported the Government in its efforts to restore order in 

YOU have followed the course of politics during the last few 
years with interest and attention, and you will be aware 
that there are many instances of Ministers who have been obliged 
to separate from their colleagues, and in more than one case 
have found themselves also compelled to make things somewhat 
unpleasant for their former colleagues. There are many instances 
of that line of action. But I know that I was not much im- 


I with the weight or with the character of these precedents, 
and I was determined that on no consideration whatever would 
I allow the great question of retrenchment and departmental 
reform to be discredited by any personal or partisan advocacy. 
I can understand that there may be some in this hall —possibly 
many — who will say, ' Oh, yes ; we do not disagree with that. 
That is very well. But when last we elected you to Parliament 
you were Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the House 
of Commons, and now you appear before us in the character of 
an unofficial and private member. Will you kindly explain how 
that transformation has taken place ? ' It is my duty to answer 
that interrogatory, which I consider perfectly legitimate, in a 
frank and honest manner ; consistently always, mind you, with 
obligations of honour and of duty towards my former colleagues. 
This I may say at starting, that in all probability, if it had fallen 
to me to occupy any other office in the Government besides that 
which I did occupy, I should have been in the Government 
now. But I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I had the 
honour of being leader of the House of Commons, and as Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer I was almost entirely responsible for the 
public expenditure of this great empire ; as leader of the House 
of Commons, I was largely responsible for the general policy of 
the Government, which had to be exposed and defended night 
after night in the House of Commons. As Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, I had to feel an absolute and honourable certainty 
in my mind that I was not taking one shilling, as it were, 
from your pockets or from the pockets of the people of this 
country which was not required by the exigencies of the 
public service. Now I ask you, Do you think, knowing what 
you know now, that I could have felt any certainty upon that 
point ? Look at what has taken place since the beginning of 
the year with regard to the expenditure of public money. Look 
at the sad discoveries and disclosures — for I must really call 
them shameful — which have been brought before the public by 
the committee which has been appointed to inquire into the 
system of negotiating Admiralty contracts. I go further. I 
ask you to look at the report of the committee only just lately 
appointed to inquire into the cutlasses and the bayonets which 


were supplied to your sailors, and on the excellence of which 
your sailors in time of war would have to rely. Is it not extra- 
ordinary that you have in the AVar Office a great department 
spending 18,500,000/. of public money, and that that department 
since 1871 has allowed your sailors to be armed with weapons 
which the Commission described as absolutely inefficient, un- 
trustworthy, and unfit for service? That department has 
allowed that state of things to continue since 1871, and would 
not acknowledge that it was so, denied the statements of the 
Admiralty, and would not acknowledge it till an independent 
committee told them that this was the case. That is a depart- 
ment which spends 18,500,000/. per annum. Look at the 
speeches which have been made recently in Parliament by the 
First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary to the Admiralty 
— against whom as individuals I have not a word to say — but in 
their speeches in Parliament they have pleaded guilty without 
qualification to an expenditure of public money in the past 
which really would not have discredited the Government of 
Russia. If you want to go further than this, I invite you all to 
study a Parliamentary paper which you can easily procure — viz. 
the report of Sir William Dunbar, the controller and auditor- 
general of public finance, on the expenditure of that vote of 
credit of eleven millions which was taken by Mr. Gladstone in 
1885. If you study that you will come to the conclusion that, 
after all, on that particular matter which I put before you, I 
could not, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, have the smallest 
certainty that I was not taking money out of your pockets which 
would be wasted as much as if it were thrown into the gutter. 
I dare say some of you will say, ' That is all veiy well ; there 
have been great scandals, but these would all have been known 
and dealt with without your taking so strong a step as resigning 
your office.' I quite admit the apparent plausibility of that 
position, but I traverse it directly. All these things could not 
have been known, or if they had been known they would have 
attracted no attention whatever. Things would have gone oQ 
just the same as before. You would have had a plaintive remold" 
strauce here and an indignant letter there ; but the great torre***' 
of other public matters would have swept them out of sigl**'- 


No remedy would have been applied to them. Now, gentlemen, 
as a matter of history, I believe I am right in saying that no 
Chancellor of the Exchequer has ever resigned before on the 
question of the expenditure of public money. Not one. I 
believe many Chancellors of the Exchequer have threatened to 
resign. I believe that many Chancellors of the Exchequer have 
been within an ace of resigning, but for some reason or other 
the crisis has been postponed. But my resignation had this 
effect, that it created, for one reason or another, such a stir that 
it turned and concentrated the full glare of public opinion — 
what I may call the electric light of public opinion — on to those 
two great spending departments, and it illuminated and brought 
before the eyes, even of the blindest, all the dark nooks and 
crannies, and all the odd ways of going to work, which charac- 
terise those two departments. People began examining and 
writing and speaking, and things began to ooze out and to 
be discussed, and be put in the way to be remedied, which 
otherwise would not have been known, or if they had been 
known would .never have been noticed. There is more than 
that. As far as the question of expenditure was concerned, the 
commotion which was caused by my resignation of office did 
unmitigated good, and the more the Press denounced me the 
more I rejoiced, because I was perfectly certain that the more 
noise that was made the more the public would rouse and wake 
themselves — for the British public are at times so sluggish and 
so deaf and so fast asleep that you have to beat them to make 
them move — the more noise was made the more the public would 
rouse themselves to a sense of the national seriousness of the 
questions which were at issue. I resigned the office of Chancellor 
of the Exchequer because I knew what you know now, but 
what you did not know then — that the state of the public service, 
especially as regarded those two departments, was so scandalous, 
and so dangerous to every interest which you have at heart, that 
nothing but some great resounding blow would bring about the 
commencement even of a better state of things. Well, there were 
**ome who were interested apparently in defending the existing 
arrangement and in defending existing abuses, and I must say 
*Aat really they were not very scrupulous in their manner of 

K 2 


dealing with me. They said I had resigned from motives of per- 
sonal ambition. Why, gentlemen, if I had consulted motives of 
personal ambition alone I had only to stay where I was. I had 
so high a position that, if political position and great office can 
excite motives of personal ambition, I could desire nothing more. 
The mere fact of the position I occupied is an answer to the 
idiotic accusation that I resigned office from motives of personal 
ambition. Then they said I resigned because I was averse to 
the proper defence of our coaling stations and our mercantile 
ports. Gentlemen, my position was this : I said to the Admiralty 
and the War Office, * You dispense between you on an average 
thirty-two millions of public money ; if you spend that money 
properly you will have an ample balance to put your coaling 
stations and your mercantile ports in a state of satisfactory 
defence, and it is because you waste your money and because 
your money is expended profusely and extravagantly that you 
come before the public and ask for more sums to put these coal- 
ing stations and these mercantile ports in a state of defence.' 
Well, then they said I wanted to bring in a popular Budget, 
and that 1 was ready to sacrifice the life of the nation and the 
safety of the nation to the exigencies of a popular Budget. I will 
tell you a little matter. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer 
made a disclosure the other day in the City of London and gave 
a little secret as to his Budget. I may tell you something with 
regard to mine. 1 had not the smallest ambition to bring in a 
]>opular Budget; I had a great ambition to bring in a good 
Budget, and I can tell you this, that there is all the difference in 
the world at times between a good Budget and a popular Budget. 
Without in the least going into the provisions of the Budget I 
contemplated, I have no hesitation in telling you that it con- 
tained projects and schemes which would have been decidedly 
unpopular. I have no doubt about it. I believe that it would 
have been sound financially ; I believe that it would have been 
in accordance with financial orthodoxy ; but I think it probable 
— and some of my colleagues thought it probable — that some 
parts of it might have aroused a great deal of unpopularity. 
That is my answer to the accusation that I was anxious to bring 
in a popular Budget. These accusations and insinuations were 


utterly false and unfounded, and there is not a word of truth in 
them. I might, perhaps, have laid myself open by some un- 
guarded expression to attacks of that kind ; but what was my 
position? I was one man alone, unsupported by any of my 
colleagues, and a man in this position must expect to receive 
here a hard blow and there a shrewd dig. What was the result? 
Those two great departments, the War Office and the Admiralty, 
which between them absorb more than three-quarters of the 
whole of your Customs and Excise, have been exposed, have 
been placed upon their trial, and, I venture to say, have been 
condemned, and I hope are now in a fair way to be thoroughly 
reformed and renovated. Do not think for one moment that I 
place the smallest confidence in any of the professions made by 
the War Office and the Admiralty of future amendment. They 
have been very much woke up, but I remember those lines : — 

1 The Devil was sick, the Devil a monk would be ; 
The Devil got well, the devil a monk was he.' 

And I have not the smallest doubt that if public attention 
were to relax, or if public attention were to be withdrawn and 
diverted to other matters, these two great departments would 
sink back into their former state of profuse, extravagant, and 
wasteful expenditure. But they shall not. The great work of 
economy and public retrenchment — which, mind you, was the 
great keystone of policy with Sir Robert Peel — that great work, 
still only begun, shall, if I can do anything, go on ; and these 
two departments, and other departments which dispose of large 
sums of public money, know this — that they have in me a 
relentless enemy, who is supported, I am happy to say, and 
assisted, by many members of Parliament, by many agents, and 
who has under his control many sources of information, and who 
will never cease from watching them, from criticising them 
publicly in Parliament and in the country, until we get their 
expenditure of public money put upon a healthy and more 
business-like footing. 

Before leaving these matters I should like to put before you 
that, though money considerations are not everything, yet it is 
not well to live in a region of romance and dispense with them 


altogether. Money considerations are worthy of your attention 
and I should like to put before you the exact sum in pounds, shil- 
lings, and pence which my action on the question of public ex- 
penditure, and in resigning my office, absolutely saved your pocket* 
and saved the country. I think this will interest you. The 
immediate cause of my resignation, the crisis which precipitated 
it, was the Estimates of the War Office. The Secretary for War l 
placed before me Estimates for the current year which amounted 
to 18,5G4,000£., and I said to him that I thought that sum, bein^ 
300,000/. in excess of the previous year, was an amount I coulc 
not consent to. I pressed him hard during a long converse 
tion to make reductions on that amount. Now, the Secretary 
of State for War, a gentleman for whom I have the highest- 
possible respect, and against whom I will not say one wor**: 
told me that there was not a single item upon which he cou T 
conscientiously accept any reduction. He wrote that to tfci 
Prime Minister at the time when there was this minister! 4 
crisis. Then the resignation came, and all the bother. But i 
not this a most remarkable thing, that after the resignation tli 
War Estimates underwent a revision, and the War Estimates 
have been reduced by the very considerable amount of 1 70.000/. 
odd ? More than that, before I left office, so strong was the 
pressure I put upon the Admiralty — and I am bound to sar 
the Admiralty responded admirably to that pressure — that the 
Admiralty Estimates showed a total reduction on the expendi- 
ture of last year of no less than 700,000£. I have got the verjr 
decent total of 870,000/. But there is another matter well 
worthy of your attention, to show the difficulty a Chancellor of 
the Exchequer is in, in taking care of your pockets. I had to 
deal with an estimate which was presented by the War Office, 
amounting to over half a million of money for expenditure, 
which had been incurred in connection with the defence of the 
Egyptian frontier. That expenditure had been incurred with- 
out the sanction of the War Office, without the knowledge of 
the Treasury, without the consent of Parliament, and I utterly 
declined to have anything whatever to do with it or to admit 
it in any way. It was, I thought, a most indefensible expendi- 
ture. I fought against that estimate from August to Decemhflr, 
' Mr. W.. II Smith, at this date Fir*t Lord of the Treasury. 


until within a few days of my resignation. I knew it would 
be an estimate that the House of Commons would hardly be 
persuaded to vote, but so great was the pressure put upon 
me by the Foreign Office as to the bankruptcy which would 
ensue in Egypt if we did not repay that sum to the Egyptian 
Government, and as to the possible issue of an International 
Commission, and other matters, that at the last moment I gave 
way. Well, in comes my successor, Mr. Goschen, who the 
moment this estimate was presented to him took just the 
same view as I did. He considered it absolutely unjustifiable 
expenditure, for which he would not be responsible to Parlia- 
ment and to the Government. And I think he very wisely, 
owing to the great stir about economy, insisted upon economy 
somewhere. Consequently the Government have never pre- 
sented that estimate to the House of Commons. Then I say I 
practically saved 170,000Z., the estimate for the War Office. I 
practically saved 700,00(M % on the Navy Estimates, and I prac- 
tically saved 500,000Z. on the Supplementary Estimates ; and 
so I practically saved some 1 ,400,000/. to the tax-payers of this 
country. I do not believe that any Chancellor of the Exchequer 
who has been in office so short a time as I was — less than seven 
months— could show a hard, fair, undeniable saving of so many 
pounds of the public money. I think you will agree with me 
in this — that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is a 
thoroughly high-minded and honourable man, will take the first 
opportunity of recognising that if he has any surplus to dispose 
of this year — and it will not be very large — yet in the manu- 
facture of that surplus I may claim to have had the principal 
share. I think, then, that it is almost a pity, if this large saving 
of the public money was to be effected, that it was not effected 
by the Government before I resigned instead of alter I resigned. 
Before I resigned I had made demands in the shape of retrench- 
ment and economy which I considered to be not extravagant. 
More than that, I had set on foot two great and powerful 
agencies for securing economical and thrifty expenditure. I 
procured the appointment of a ltoyal Commission to inquire 
into the whole of your Civil Service expenditure, and I am 
told on good information that that Royal Commission is doing 
most excellent work, not only by the actual inquiry and the 


discoveries which it is making, but by the mere fact of this 
inquiry the public departments are being put upon their mettle 
and are setting their house in order. I am glad to have the 
opportunity of thanking Her Majesty's Government for agreeing 
to my suggestion that the thirty-one millions odd which the 
Army and Navy departments spend should be referred to a 
Parliamentary Committee, 1 and you may depend upon it that 
that act on the part of the Government will have the mort 
beneficial effect upon the departments in the preparation of 
their estimates for Parliament. I think that I have made out, 
as I was bound to make out before you, my constituents, not 
at all an unsatisfactory balance-sheet, from a financial point of 
view, of profit and loss arising out of the action which I felt 
myself compelled to take in December last. I may be told, and 
I dare say there are some here who will say : ' Well, you may 
have done some little good; 1,400,000/., that is good enougb, 
but it is not enough to justify your resignation, because by your 
resignation and by the action which you took you endangered 
the great cause of the Union, and you endangered the union of 
the Unionist party.' Again I perfectly admit the legitimacy 
and the plausibility of that contention. There are others who 
say more. They go further and say : { Oh, but you deserted the 
ship in the hour of danger.' Well, I think this last accusation 
is really too contemptible to be looked at. I am, and I think 
everybody knows 1 am, as strong a defender of the Union & 
ever I was at any moment, and the whole, the sole, and th e 
only question which I turned over in my mind morning, nooiV 
and night was this— Can I serve the cause of the Union, can *• 
defend the Union, best inside or outside the Government? As^ 
I came to the conclusion that, at that moment, I could cJ* 3 
better work for the cause of the Union outside the Government 
I take the first of the two accusations — the accusation th^ 
I endangered the cause of the Union by my resignation, an^ 
endangered the union of the Unionist party. I will tell yo^ 
why I say this. 1 am now coming to my position as it was ir^ 
January last, not as Chancellor of the Exchequer, but as leaded 

1 This was done upon the motion of Lord Randolph Churchill himself , an<^ 
it was a motion which no Government could have resisted. 


of the House of Commons, and I directly traverse these two 
allegations. I do not believe there is in this country a more 
convinced supporter of the Union than I am. I had arrived at 
the conviction that the Union in its present form must be 
maintained by a process of argument totally devoid, totally 
bereft, of all prejudice or passion. I had examined the question 
of the Union to the very best of my ability*, by bringing to the 
examination some amount of Irish knowledge, some amount of 
study of former history, and some amount of kuowledge of con- 
temporary politics, and I had come to this conclusion by the 
simple process of mental calculation — that the Union must 
be maintained because the project of Home Rule is utterly 
unmanageable and impracticable. This is my firm opinion 
of course, it is only an individual opinion — that you might if 
you liked, as a matter of experiment, place Mr. Gladstone in 
office to-morrow with an obedient and docile majority, and I 
am certain that it is not within his power, clever, eloquent, 
and ingenious as he is, as it is not within the power of any 
living man, to devise a scheme of Home Rule which will bear 
the test of Parliamentary discussion. That is my belief about 
Home Rule, which I shall never shrink from and never change. 
But I cannot expect that belief of mine, which I believe is your 
belief — I cannot expect it to be shared absolutely by the great 
mass of between four and five millions of electors in this country. 
These are the people we have got to convince ; these are the 
people we have got to get at our back. There are two methods 
of maintaining the Union. There are two methods of getting 
the English people at your back and of repeating on another 
occasion the victory you won on a former occasion. There is 
the method of maintaining the Union — by a wise policy, so to 
convince the English people of the general excellence of your 
administration in foreign affairs, and in home and legislative 
matters, that the English people shall naturally, tor their own 
interest, go to the back of a Unionist Government, so that the 
Unionist Government, in the face of any Parliamentary difficulty* 
could at any moment confidently go to the English people for 
renewed support. That is one method of maintaining the Union. 
Well, then, there is another method of maintaining the Union, 


and that is by relying almost entirely on Parliamentary and 
party arrangements, by living as it were from hand to month, 
by calculating the chances and the lives of individual leaders — 
in fact, what I may call the happy-go-lucky method. Now, I 
do not say which of these two methods was being attempted at 
the lime 1 left- the Government. That is not necessary; but 
there was a distinct danger that the happy-go-lucky method 
would take the preference over what I may call the method by 

1 am now about to touch on delicate ground, and I want you 
to follow nie closely. I wish to explain to you why I felt I 
could no longer usefully fill the position of leader of the House 
of Commons, and why I felt that there were other persona who 
would till it infinitely better than 1 could. Gentlemen, I must 
take you back some years, because we now live so fast that 
things are forgotten very rapidly. I must ask you to come back 
with me to the year 1880. That was a very dark and gloomy 
year for the Ton* party. That was the year in which I began 
my active political life. You saw at that time a great, a strong, 
a powerful Government, which, as far as we could judge, had 
thoroughly deserved the confidence of the country, and which 
had carried the country through great difficulties, through great 
national dangers, which had thoroughly done its duty to the 
country, and was headed by one of the most experienced — one 
of the greatest men that England has ever produced. You saw 
that Government, apparently so strong, all of a sudden over- 
thrown and hurled out of office, and you saw a new school of 
politics, and another leader take its place. Think of all those 
years, from 1880 to 1885. Think of the penalty you English- 
men, all of you, paid for that catastrophe — the penalty which 
you paid in your colonies, the penalty which you paid in the 
loss of your national greatness and your national character, the 
penalty which you paid in Ireland, the penalty which you paid 
in the general distrust which overspread the minds of all men 
and which influenced the course of all affairs. That election of 
1880 made an enormous impression upon me. That was the 
time when my political life began, and I learned three lessons 
rom that general election, which I have had thoroughly im- 



pressed upon my mind, which I have never ceased; so far as I 
could, to inculcate on my fellow countrymen, and from which I 
have never changed, as I shall never change. yl learned, in the 
first place, that the people of England — with them I am bestj 
acquainted, and they have the power in their hands — I learned thati 
the people of England prefer a peaceful foreign policy/ I do not 
mean a policy which will assent to the empire being attacked and 
ridden over, but I mean a policy which should avoid unnecessary 
interference in quarrels and struggles where British interests 
are not directly concerned. That was my first lesson. T learned 
another lesson, that the people of England were distinctly 3ii 
favour of an economical and thrifty administration of the public 
services ; and I learned a third lesson, that the people of Eng- 
land were distinctly in favour of legislation— honest, genuine, so 
far as it went — which should supply effectually all the admitted de- 
ficiencies in our law, that should reform generally all the admitted 
abuses in our social system. These were the three lessons which I 
learned, and which, in one way or another, I have endeavoure| 
to propagate among those with whom I have come in cont; 
politically. But from the year 1 880 to 1885 I hardly ceased fol 
one moment, either in Parliament or in the country, from de 
nouncing the Gladstone Administration for their lamentable! 
shortcomings in these three respects. I never ceased from pro- 
claiming on all occasions my belief, my conviction, and my honest 
intention that if it ever fell to me to take part in those matters 
and to control, guide, or influence the policy of the Tory party, 
those three main lines of policy which I have described to you, 
and which I consider to be well within the power and the prin- 
ciples of the Tory party, should be honestly and genuinely 
carried out. / 

Then there came the election of 1885. It was a most/ 
remarkable election. The Tory party won the boroughs and 
lost the counties. They won the boroughs because the borough 
population was a population trained to political discussion, be- 
cause they believed in the professions which the Tory party had 
made, and knew of the shortcomings of the Radical Administra- 
tion. But we lost the counties, and that you must bear in 
mind. After the election of 1885 you had raised by Mr. Glad- 


stone the great vital and Imperial question of the mainten- 
\/ ance or repeal of the Union. After a desperate struggle, the 
hazardous, critical, and touch-and-go nature of which will not, 
perhaps, generally be known for years — after a desperate strug- 
gle both in Parliament and in the country, Mr. Gladstone was 
defeated and a Unionist Administration was placed in office. 
But, though Mr. Gladstone was defeated, and though the policy 
of repeal was badly scotched, it was by no means killed. More 
than ever was I convinced that if you wished to maintain the 
Union between the two countries, and in support of that Union 
to retain the continued confidence of the people of Great 
Britain — more than ever was I convinced that you could only be 
successful by a genuine and effective application of those three 
great main lines of policy which I have described. To defend the 
cause of the Union, in which you have still to fight a desperate 
struggle, you must get behind you the overwhelming popular 
support of the people of England. Well, that was my conviction. 
I used to express it sometimes to my colleagues thus: ' If you wish 
to make the Tory party with its Unionist allies strong, you must 
return to a practical carrying out of the principles and policy 
of Sir It. Peel,' whom I believe to have been the greatest Tory 
Minister this century has produced, who, even more than Lord 
Beaconsfield, adopted all the principles and ideas of what people 
I call Tory Democracy. Well, gentlemen, filled with these ideas, 
and with the full concurrence and support of the present Prime 
Minister, I made that speech at Dartford which I have reason to 
believe .satisfied a large portion of public opinion in the country, 
and which was publicly accepted shortly afterwards by the 
present leader of the House of Commons as containing a true 
and faithful exposition of the programme, foreign and domestic, 
of the Unionist party. What I have to ask you is this, Did my 
resignation of office endanger the Dartford programme ? No, it 
did not. My resignation of office made the realisation of the 
Dartford programme more certain, and the Dartford programme 
is more likely to be carried into effect now than it was when I 
resigned office. The foreign policy of the Government since my 
resignation has been profoundly and beneficially modified. I 
have complete confidence, so far as my information goes at the 


present moment, that the English people may be certain that 
they are not likely to be involved in any European struggle 
arising out of the Bulgarian complications. I say no more on 
that subject. It may be challenged, but I do not think it will ; 
it may be denied — I do not think it will ; but no amount of 
denial or challenge can affect the truth of that statement. 

I have spoken to you about the financial results of my 
resignation. On the question of legislation I cannot say much, 
because I do not know. It is not much use talking about 
legislation now for England and Scotland. The House of 
Commons has its hands full, and is likely to have its hands full 
for some time to come, with Irish subjects ; but I feel confident 
on this point, that the strong liberal infusion which was made 
into the Cabinet in consequence of my resignation — and I use 
the word c liberal ' not in a party sense, but in the highest 
sense — can hardly fail to have a most beneficial effect upon the 
character of the legislation for the many wants of the country, 
and I am bound to say that what has taken place in the House 
of Commons confirms that belief. The Government has pro- 
duced one or two promising Bills. From their Bill on land 
tenure in England, to modify and reform the antiquated customs 
which make the transfer of land so difficult and * expensive 
among individuals, it is obvious that they are pursuing a liberal 
and progressive policy. I take their Irish Land Bill. Does 
not the production of that Bill show you the liberal spirit in 
which the Tory Government are now endeavouring to work ? 
You do not know, you have no conception, how I have been 
persecuted both in public and private because I have sometimes 
tentatively and timidly advocated propositions which were de- 
scribed as atrociously Radical ; but what do you suppose would 
liave happened if I had, in 1881, proposed a Bill to Parliament, 
breaking leases, and interfering with the rights of the land- 
lord to recover land in the event of the non-payment of rent ? 
Gentlemen, it shows that truly liberal ideas are making pro- 
gress. You see Lord Salisbury, a statesman, possessing the 
Confidence of a great party, in order to deal with great national 
^^angers and necessities, boldly putting aside all the worn-out 
****ditionB, the antiquated ideas of the past, and bringing for- 


ward measures which, if you think over their character, ar 
enough to make the Duke of Wellington and Lord Eldon tun 
in their graves. On this question of legislation I have onh 
this suggestion to offer to Her Majesty's Government. They 
art* so amiable alxuit accepting my suggestions now that I 
think possibly they will consider it. I would advise them, if 
they have Bills on one or two questions in which the country 
is interested, such as local government, or metropolitan govern- 
ment, and the question of allotments for the agricultural 
labourers, to produce those Bills immediately. Not that the 
(lovernmeiit could hope under the present state of things to 
make progress with them, but because by so doing — and yoi 
must not throw away any chance in the struggle in which w< 
are engaged — they will show the public that they do honest h 
and earnestly intend to redeem the pledges they made, am 
alKive all they will show to the country the effect of the faction) 
and unpatriotic obstruction in which the whole Liberal Opposi- 
tion is engaging. I have shown that, so far from doing harm 
I did good by the step I took last December; and you must no 
think this is an afterthought. Much of what I tell you no* 
is on record in documents which have been or may be publisher 
some day, and not one word that I have said to you this after 
noon will be contradicted by people who are well acquainted 
with all the incidents which took place at the commencemen 
of this year. I pray you not to think that I am saying all thii 
to glorify myself in any way. I do not believe there is a persoi 
on the. face of this earth mow utterly callous and indifferent to 
praise or blame than I am. As a matter of fact I prefer abust 
and denunciation. I have lived on it, I have thrived on it. ] 
suppose that against me, both by foes and, I regret to say 
sometimes by friends, have been hurled all the deadly shafts o: 
political abuse which can be conceived, and the more they hur 
them tin* more I have been fortunate and happy enough to 
retain some amount of public confidence. I do not care a bii 
about myself; but. I want you to bear my arguments in mind 
because I realise so fully — and I want you to realise as ftilly a* 
I do — the awful and the desperate nature of the struggle ii 
which we are now involved, a struggle between the Governmen 
of the Queen and the Imperial Parliament on the one hand, an< 


the forces of treason and sedition and anarchy in Ireland on the 
other. The struggle is no ordinary trial of srrengrh between 
rival Parliamentary parties. This moment, in which we now 
are, is one of those moments which will from time to time occur 
in the lives of nations and of states, when the whole fabric and 
framework of political society is tried and shaken. 

[Having examined the state of Ireland, and defended the 
Government for the introduction of the Crimes Act, Jx>rd 
Randolph Churchill thus concluded :] 

The attitude Mr. Gladstone has taken up is a new one in 
English political life. Hitherto it has been recognised that 
when any leader of a great party has propounded to the country 
* p>olicy with regard to any great question, and that policy has 
been repudiated by the country — that leader, although he need 
loso no opportunity of still endeavouring to convince the English 
people of the merits of his policy, is at any rate bound by all the 
traditions of party life — by those traditions on which party life 
depends — to give a fair trial to the policy of his opponents, and 
feiir play, and fair support, to the Government of the Queen. 
Tk^t hug been the doctrine of every single English statesman 
witiliout exception, since party life was first known in this 
c°**xitry ; but, for the first time, Mr. Gladstone has shattered 
that; doctrine and set it at naught. It is that which makes the 
strnggle so hard and difficult for the Government and for us. 
^ ^ have to deal with new circumstances, new conditions, and 
new difficulties which we could hardly have prepared for or 
foreseen. . . . You are now engaged in a great struggle, a life 
a&d death struggle, on behalf of all that you value and hold dear 
against what can only be described as pure anarchy, absence of 
kw, and total disorder. This is the actual battle in which you 
we engaged now. Everything up to now has been mere skir- 
mishing or reconnoissances in force. But this is an actual 
general engagement which is now going on in Parliament and 
k the country, and one on which the fate of the Empire hangs. 
P 1 *?, gentlemen, that in this hour of trial, when the life of 
your Parliament, the existence of your Empire, the welfare of 
your people and the future of your race are all at stake — I pray 
that your resolution may be indomitable and that your courage 
^d your hearts may be high. 


Birmingham, April 14, 1887. 

[In the session of 1887 obstruction again proved very formid- 
able, and scenes of a discreditable character— apparently planned 
with the view of bringing the authority of the Chair into discredit- 
were not infrequent. On one occasion a compact body of Irish 
members marched out of the House, one of their number crying out 
' Down with the Speaker ! ' It was to circumstances such as these 
that incidental allusion was made in the following speech.] 

IT is an unfortunate and almost a deplorable matter that in 
this Eastertide of our Jubilee year we should find that th<? 
condition of the country is one of considerable, and of almo** 
alarming, political commotion. We had hoped that this yea* 
might have witnessed some effort at an approach to harmony • 
we had hoped that this year might have been marked by at any 
rate a momentary laying aside of the more acute forms of part V 
strife. But instead of that we find that the battle of the Union 
is raging more fiercely than ever, and that it is sought by some- 
by men of position and influence, to rouse the constituencies 
of Britain into a state of unwonted political excitement. What 
is the cause of this unfortunate state of things, and what are 
the objects of the person principally responsible for this state of 
things ? The cause is this, that Mr. Gladstone, at the head of 
the party of Repeal, is seeking prematurely to coerce the people 
of England into a reversal of the decision solemnly arrived at 
by them less than nine months ago. I used specially the word 
prematurely to characterise this movement on the part of the 
party of Repeal ; because what are the facts ? Let me take yon 
back a short time. Let us make sure of our ground. In the 
month of November 1885 — a month which I and many of voo 


■e recollect very well — in that month, as the result of the 
aeral election which then took place, Mr. Gladstone found 
nself at the head of a Parliamentary following numbering 

members of the House of Commons. He might if he had 
:ed, within certain lines and certain courses, have carried on 
e government of the country with credit and success. He 
ok office in the early part of 1886, as he had a perfect right 
> do, being at the head of the strongest party in the House 

1 Commons ; but, having taken office, he produced a plan for 
lie future government of Ireland of which I will only say that 
t absolutely revolutionised the Parliamentary relations and the 
institutional relations existing at the present time between 
Jreat Britain and that country. This project sharply divided 
lis party, and was defeated in the House of Commons by a 
■espectable majority. He, in November 1885, found himself 
it the head of a united party. His project left him with a 
livided party. He appealed to the country against the decision 
)f the House of Commons last July, as he had a perfect right 
'3 do, and the result of that election was that his Parliamentary 
Mowing of 335 was reduced to no more than 190 members of 
he House of Commons. His Tory opponents increased their 
trength from 250 to 315 members of the House of Commons. 
Wld anything be more plain, more unmistakable, more un- 
salable, than the character of the result of the last general 
lection ? Mr. Gladstone's project for the government of Ireland 
as repudiated by Parliament, and afterwards by the country, 
*)t and branch. The country desired that the Union in its 
resent form should be maintained and that Ireland should 
mtinue to be governed by the Queen's Government, responsible 

the Imperial Parliament at Westminster. Now, to show 
at Mr. Gladstone perfectly understood in his own mind how 
iar, how unmistakable was the decision of the country, I have 
ly to remind you that the moment the result of the election 
8 known Mr. Gladstone immediately resigned office without 
tturing to meet Parliament as a Minister. That action 
wed that he had very little doubt at that time as to what 
jland wanted. What was the result ? A Tory Government 
le into office supported by 315 members of the Hous9 of 
VOL. II. I- 


Commons belonging to the Tory party, and receiving an inde- 
pendent general support from upwards of 80 Liberal Unionists. 
That Government, on the very first night of its existence — 
and I speak with knowledge on this subject, because I was 
concerned in that matter — solemnly pledged itself to Parlia- 
ment that the first moment at which it became conscious that 
the forces of lawlessness in Ireland could not be controlled by 
the existing law and by existing criminal procedure, that very 
moment it would go to Parliament and would apply for special 
legislative powers. That pledge was given in August last in 
both Houses of Parliament, and that pledge was registered by 
the country. After nine months of careful observation, of 
patient and prudent examination, her Majesty's Government 
are now redeeming that solemn pledge. They have found that 
the state of Ireland is such that if the Queen's Government and 
Parliament are to continue to exercise authority, and effectually 
to govern in Ireland, it is absolutely necessary that the Govern- 
ment should be strengthened by special legislative provisions 
for the detection and for the punishment of crime and for the 
repression of intimidation. That being so, we have a tremen- 
dous outcry from the party of Repeal ; there is great sound and 
fury in the Radical ranks, and we have demonstrations in Hyde 
Park, and inflammatory letters from Mr. Gladstone, and agitation 
of every kind ; but if you think it over you will agree with me 
that in the action of the Government, which is so furiously 
assailed, there is nothing in the least bit inconsistent with 
the result of the last general election — a result to which you 
in Birmingham very largely contributed — and there is nothing 
more false than the allegation which is now put forward by 
many Radical speakers, that the Conservative party at the last »; 

general election pledged themselves against that kind of legis 

lation which is improperly termed coercive legislation. WhafcJ 
the Conservative party pledged themselves to was this — thalM 
they would maintain the Union in a practical form, that thejB 
would continue to govern Ireland, from and under the authorit y*; 

of the Parliament at Westminster, by the ordinary law i 

possible ; but if not possible by the ordinary law, then by &~ 
strengthened law. I feel that there can be no doubt whateve^e 


in any reasonable mind that the great body of the people 
perfectly understood that pledge. And on that pledge the 
Tories and Liberal Unionists were returned to Parliament. 

Let us consider the position of the opponents of the 
Government. What is Mr. Gladstone's present purpose ? 
Mr. Gladstone proposes by a double method of Parliamentary 
obstruction and of extra-Parliamentary agitation to bring the 
Boose of Commons, this young House of Commons only just 
elected, into popular disrepute ; to irritate the mind of the masses 
of the people against the present House of Commons ; to deprive 
it of popular sympathy, popular confidence, and so to paralyse 
And put an end to it. With that aim he is not particularly 
scrupulous what means he employs. I will mention one, a most 
serious one, to which I earnestly invite your attention. Mr. 
Gladstone deliberately permits and encourages — and I say that, 
because he could discourage it and stop it if he wished — he 
deliberately permits and encourages movements of various kinds, 
by individuals and by factions, which have for their object the 
'weakening of the authority of the Speaker of the House of 
Commons. When I was at Bradford in the month of October 
last, addressing a great audience like the present, I told the 
xxieeting I was addressing that Mr. Gladstone and Sir William 
Harcourt and others had this design in their minds, to weaken 
tilie authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons. My 
declaration on that subject was considered unfounded and pre- 
mature. But I want to know whether events have not borne it 
out. This manoeuvre of Mr. Gladstone's is one of the most 
insidious character. The English people, if they value their 
liberties, cannot be too much on their guard against it. Just as 
"the House of Commons is the vital principle of English liberty, 
so the authority of the Speaker is the vital principle of the House 
of Commons. If you assail that authority successfully, if you 
allow it to be weakened or seriously wounded, the House of 
Commons dies or decays. It becomes nothing else but a tumul- 
tuous and brawling mob ; and with the death of the House of 
Commons dies English liberty. Up to the present time the leaders 
of both parties in the State have been very jealous of preserving 
i* 1 all its integrity the authority of the Speaker ; and nothing 

t 2 


indicates to my mind more clearly the sheer and ntter despera- 
tion to which Mr. Gladstone is reduced than that he should, from 
his great and high position, deliberately, as I say, permit and 
encourage movements which have for their object the destruction 
of the authority of the Chair. But there is even yet another 
feature which renders his conduct even more blamable. Who 
is the present Speaker of the House of Commons ? He is one 
of the most respected and experienced members of Parliament. 
He bears an honoured name — a name which alone should 
almost entitle him to the support and to the respect of every 
member of Parliament. He was, moreover, chosen for the high 
office of Speaker by Mr. Gladstone himself. It was Mr. Glad- 
stone who submitted his name to the House of Commons for the 
Speakership. But now, when his authority is assailed in every 
way, when exclamations are made by members of Parliament 
of a character most insulting to that distinguished man, Mr. 
Gladstone is never in his place either to protest against the 
insults or protect the authority of the Chair. I said that Mr. 
Gladstone's method for effecting his purpose is essentially a 
double method. He endeavours, on the one hand, to intimidate 
and to coerce Parliament and the people of England into a reversal 
of their decision at the last election, and by a studied reticence, 
by what I may call a negative attitude towards the National 
League in Ireland, he sanctions the proceedings of the National 
League, which have for their object to bring to nought and to 
arrest all the ordinary processes of Government in Ireland. By 
active declamation, by Parliamentary obstruction, by agitation, 
by correspondence, he hopes to terrify and alarm Parliament 
into permitting that great evil of anarchy in Ireland to proceed, 
and to con (pier the resolution of the British people. With one 
hand, as it were, he adds fuel to the flame in Ireland by his 
attitude to the National League; and with the other hand, by 
his attitude in Parliament, he endeavours to cut off the water 
supply necessary to extinguish the conflagration. This I will 
say, that more des]>eratc or more unscrupulous strategy to effect 
a particular political purpose was never yet in the history of 
England resorted to by a responsible statesman. It may be 
effective unless the English people are very much on theit 


guard. I particularly say 'the English people,' because, un- 
doubtedly, upon England the stress of the battle of the Union 
falls. l Dear old Scotland,' ' gallant little Wales ' i poor Ireland/ 
have all wandered from the right fold ; but England has 
maintained by her own strength the Union of the United 
Kingdom, and the melancholy consequence is that England 
has to bear the fall blast of Mr. Gladstone's fury. There used 
to be a song some years ago very popular with everyone, 
every verse of which ended with the sentiment c I am an 
Englishman.' But nothing would induce Mr. Gladstone to sing 
that song now. He would say, 1 1 am a Scotchman,' ' I am a 
Welshman,' or even ' I may be an Irishman ; but, thank goodness, 
I am not an Englishman.' Mr. Gladstone is as wrathful against 
England at the present moment, because England has crossed 
his path, as he was fifteen years ago with the Pope. Fifteen 
years ago Mr. Gladstone suspected the Pope of having insti- 
-gated the Irish Eoman Catholic bishops to defeat his project 
for university education in Ireland. He poured forth upon the 
devoted head of the Pope a series of pamphlets of a character 
most alarming to that potentate. He declared at that time — 
ht& argued gravely — that no Eoman Catholic could be a per*- 
fectly loyal subject of the Queen, and he appears to be inclined 
to argue now that no Englishman can be a loyal subject of the 
<^neen. It is on England that he pours out all his wrath, and 
h« warns the English people that until they consent to the 
policy of Repeal, they shall enjoy, they shall derive, no benefit 
from any legislation on any subject, or make any political pro- 
gress through their Parliament of any sort or kind. 

Herein lies a great danger. Mr. Gladstone hopes, and 
***ajiy of his supporters hope, that the democracy of England 
^ill grow weary of this struggle. I know that there are people 
*** many parts of the country who are very impatient with 
^*e present arrest and block of public business. I can sym- 
pathise fully with that impatience. We know that our whole 
•dministrative system requires the most careful overhauling. 
We know that our whole financial system, whether as regards 
re venue or expenditure on the public service, requires the most 
^borough examination, searching reform, and re-arrangement. 


We know that there are dozens of questions on which legislation 
is sorely needed by the people at large. We know that there 
are dozens of projects ripe to be put into practical legislative 
form. But we can see no prospect of getting to work. Another 
session has hopelessly gone. The present session is sure to be 
an Irish session. For all practical purposes it has followed the 
example of many of its predecessors, and undoubtedly the im- 
patience of the democracy with this state of things is a serious 
matter. It is a block, a cessation of public business which at 
once depresses the mind and exasperates it ; and Mr. Gladstone 
takes advantage of this feeling. He intensifies the state of 
things by his action, and he exasperates it by his words. You 
may ask me, possibly some of you may say, i Well, what are we 
to do ? ' I have no specific remedy for this evil. I can only 
preach patience and perseverance, holding on and plodding on. 
You may depend upon it that the principle of democracy, the 
principle of government by the many, is now on its trial. Philo- 
sophers and historians have written volumes to prove that demo- 
cracy, or government by the many, is a wayward, capricious, 
passionate force, on which no reliance can be placed. They 
have put the question, and they have answered it to their own 
satisfaction very often in the negative, Can a democracy sustain 
the burden of a great empire ? That question is now being 
asked of all of you, and it is in your power and in the power ■ 
of the millions of electors outside this hall and all over the< 
country — it is in your power to give an answer so conclusive i 
its character that it may remain a monument for all time. Bn*~- 
I grant you the trial is very heavy. The purity of the metal o~-^ 
the British democracy is being tried by a searching and infallible < 
test. Many voices call you from the path of duty, of honours— \ 
and of safety. Many voices with seductive accents would beguiL -^ 
you along what appears to be a pleasant and an easy and -^aa 
flowery road— of giving back to Ireland that Parliament whia^B 1 
she once possessed, and which at a time of overwhelming^! 
national danger was incorporated with your own. 'Irelan— ^* 
blocks the way,' cries Mr. Gladstone. 'Let her go and goverrr^ 
herself; she will trouble you no more ; you will be able to attend- l 
to your own business. She will be your friend and your wan^^*- 


ally.* Who, of all our public men, I should like to know, has 
not felt at times the great and almost overpowering strength of 
the temptation ? Whose mind, of all those engaged in public 
aflairs, has not been exercised and tried by anxious doubts ? If 
we did not examine this question of Home Rule carefully, if we 
Unionists had not brought to the examination of the question 
"the most unprejudiced and impartial minds, we should not be 
qualified to discuss it before a great public audience like the 
present. These great international problems, in which the 
principles of government, almost the very elements of national 
cuid imperial existence, are brought up and analysed and micro- 
scopically examined, are not to be solved in the light-hearted, 
off-hand, sanguine method recommended by Mr. Gladstone and 
tne party of separation. Reflection, knowledge of the past, and 
a firm determination to look facts in the face — facts as they are, 
not as you wish them to be — these forces will bring to light 
gradually, one by one, all the snares and pitfalls and immeasur- 
able dangers which lie hidden under and are concealed by the 
^glittering and gaudy policy of Repeal. Those are the forces 
'which you must bring to bear at this crisis — and I particularly 
say you, because it is on you the responsibility rests. By the 
legislation of 1867 and of 1885 this great empire, with all its 
many interests, and with all its illimitable wealth, was given over 
a.l«olutely to your management and government. It is yours 
ix> keep or yours to squander, yours to strengthen or yours to 
rain, yours to hold or yours to throw away. But what strikes 
me as especially hard on you is this — that within a short time 
of your succeeding, as it were, to the absolute management of 
tlmis vast inheritance, a question is sprung upon you suddenly 
'^rlrich, from more than one aspect, is perhaps the most diffi- 
c*alt and most complicated question which could puzzle or per- 
plex or distract a people. Ireland clamours to be free from 
your rule and to govern herself. She declares that you have 
misgoverned her for eighty years, and that you do not under- 
stand her or her customs. She supports her demand not only 
by a pertinacious indulgence in lawlessness, not only by a 
pertinacious endeavour to paralyse your Parliament and bring 
*H public business to a standstill, but also by a very free and 


ingenious nse of all those arguments and appeals which are 
calculated to influence most strongly the minds of a free people, 
of a people who love freedom, and of a people, moreover, who 
are constantly animated by a kind of good-natured, easy-going 
longing for peace and for tranquillity. If ore than that, your re- 
fusal to concede this demand entails upon you the absolute and 
logical necessity of granting to your Government from time to 
time, through your Parliament, executive powers which are dis- 
tinctly beyond the limits of what we English are accustomed to 
regard as constitutional — powers open to abuse, powers the use 
of which, unless most carefully watched and guarded, tends to 
demoralise either a community or an Executive — powers the 
creation of which a truly Liberal mind naturally finds displeasing 
and repugnant. You see I am putting the case as fairly and 
honestly as I can. That is what I may call the sentimental aspect 
of the Irish question — a very strong aspect, to some minds. 

But now I will ask you to consider another view. I will 
ask you to consider the practical aspect of the Irish question. 
You would suppose, from the language which is used and the 
arguments which are put forward by those who advocate the 
repeal of the Union — you would naturally suppose that Ireland is 
being treated by Britain as a conquered country, and that the Irish 
people are being governed as if they were an enslaved people. 
You would suppose that the Government in Ireland is decidedly 
despotic, responsible to no one, that every day or every month or 
every year innocent persons are either hanged or sent to prison 
for years or for life, that no political freedom of any sort or kind 
existed there. More than that : you would suppose that the 
occupiers of soil, the great mass of the peasantry, the cultivators, 
are ground down and tyrannised over in the most barbarous 
fashion by every imaginable engine of landlord tyranny and 
oppression. If that were the case, if there were any portion ol 
truth in that statement of the case of Ireland, I would be a Home 
lluler to-morrow. But what are the facts? The Irish people 
are as free for all practical purposes as you in this town hall 
You do not enjoy one bit more of individual freedom than thej 
do under the Constitution. They enjoy the most perfed 
political equality with you. With them, mind you, no State 


Church disturbs the symmetry of religious liberty. With them 
no interference of any sort or kind by the Government in the 
exercise of their political rights ever occurs. They have 103 
representatives in Parliament — more than they are entitled to 
by population. These representatives are elected by the great 
mass of the people just as your own representatives are elected. 
There is not the smallest official interference by the Govern- 
ment with the freedom of election in Ireland. The elections 
in Ireland take place under the secresy and protection of the 
ballot, and no one interferes with that secresy or protection 
unless it be Roman Catholic priests or members of the National 
League. Any public meeting which has even a semblance 
of legality can be held in Ireland without interference ; any 
speech, no matter how violent as long as it does not obviously 
and openly incite to crime, can be delivered without notice by 
the Government. But, more than that : the Irish peasantry, 
the cultivators of the soil, are surrounded and protected by an 
invulnerable, an impregnable wall of legislative fortification, on 
the strength of which has been concentrated for years all the 
skill of your most able and experienced public men. More than 
that : the Irish cultivators, by the free use of British credit and 
British resources, can transform themselves from occupiers into 
absolute owners, and they enjoy for that purpose privileges 
and facilities which, I can tell you, from a Treasury point of 
▼iew are hardly financially sound, and which hitherto have been 
denied by Parliament to our own people. Now, this is the 
position of Ireland. I defy anybody to contradict that state- 
ment of the position, or to assert that there is a single word 
^liich is contrary to fact in what I have said ; and I say that 
t»He position of Ireland at the present moment is one of perfect 
political freedom. I do not know any country in the world, 
**oteven America, where political freedom has reached to greater 
lengths or is contained within larger and broader limits than 
to is in Ireland. If that is so, what is the position, what is 
*he plea, of the Unionist party ? What is the language which 
^© hold to Ireland ? We say this : ' We take no credit 
whatever to ourselves for this state of things, for this political 
equality. We admit it is your absolute and indefeasible right 


under the Act of Union. Further, every morsel, every deve- 
lopment of political freedom which we devise for ourselves in 
the future you shall share in full as you share now. If 
Ireland has suffered in the past as she has suffered from Brit- 
ish ignorance, British neglect, British apathy, we have made 
amends in recent years, and we will make yet more. There 
is nothing,' we say, c which you Irish can reasonably demand 
either to increase your prosperity or to secure your happiness 
which we will not do our utmost and our best to accord. Nor 
will we scrutinise too closely or too narrowly the reasonableness 
of any of your demands, but for your sakes and for our sakes and 
for the common interest, and for the sake, and for the safety, and 
for the honour, and for the power, ay, even for the life of this 
vast and varied Empire, we ask, and we insist, and we will that 
you shall live peaceably and amicably with us under one Parlia- 
ment, one Government, and one Throne/ Now, this is to be 
remembered : out of a population in Ireland of 4,800,000 people 
nearer 3,000,000 than 2,000,000 are prepared to respond 
amicably to that appeal. But there is a section of the Irish 
people, combined and consolidated and organised into a National 
League, with its sympathisers and supporters, who make us, 
the Unionists, this reply. They say, ' We care nothing for your 
boasted civil and religious liberties. We care nothing for and 
we do not recognise any of your efforts to increase Irish pro- 
sperity or to raise the condition of the Irish people in recent 
years. We do not recognise them. We will not obey your 
laws, for they are foreign laws. We will not share in yonr 
Parliament, for it is to us an alien Parliament. We will not be 
governed by your Government. We will have our own Parlia- 
ment, our own Government, and our own laws, no matter who*^ 
may be the effect either upon us, or upon you, or upon tk*« 
Empire at large/ That is their reply, and they say fart-hex—'. 
' If you English will not grant us this demand we will carxr} 
disorder and destruction into your ancient Parliament; we w i" 
ruin Irish society by terror and intimidation; the Queen's cour t* 
of justice shall be brought into general contempt and ridici^ " 
throughout the land ; and crime, outrage, robbery, and wrong — -* 
all undetected, all unpunished — shall turn Ireland into a Ikw^ 


ing wilderness, and shall make the name and the fame of the 
British people stink in the nostrils of the nations.' That is the 
reply of the National League to the demand and the appeal of 
the Unionist party, and it is with that reply Mr. Gladstone has 
identified himself. It is to encounter and nullify the effect of that 
most formidable menace, which with Mr. Gladstone's assistance 
they at the present moment have some power to carry into effect, 
that we Unionists call upon the British people to support the 
Government which is carrying out their decision, to come to 
the back of the Parliament which they created only a few months 

I dare say it will be within your knowledge — though it is a 
disagreeable remark to have to make —that within the last few 
years we have gained a very bad character for deserting our 
friends in moments of difficulty. I have only to remind you of 
what took place with regard to the evacuation of Afghanistan, 
with regard to the Transvaal campaign, with regard to the 
evacuation of the Soudan. I have only to remind you that all 
these strokes of policy entailed the desertion and the abandon- 
ment, in many cases to ruin, of persons who had been faithful to 
you, who had fought for you, who had made your cause their 
own. Those are not pleasant memories, they do not raise our 
character very high ; but those memories and those facts, grave 
and serioas as they are, are but as the merest trifles, are but 
feathers, light as air itself, compared to the unutterable infamy 
of which you will be guilty if you dream even of abandoning 
the two million or more loyal subjects of the Queen in Ireland. 
That would be infamy indeed — infamy black and deep as 
hell itself; never to be forgotten, never to be forgiven as long 
as the world rolls on ; infamy certain to bring a swift and a 
speedy retribution. I can have no fear that anything like that will 
come to pass. It is as well to state plainly the position of 
public affairs ; but, for my own part, I have an immovable and 
abiding faith in the great and the high qualities of the British 
wmocracy. I do not believe that the British democracy is 
capable of going wrong on any great question for any appre- 
c^ble length of time. Gentlemen, I said at the opening of my 
texnarks that this is the Jubilee year of the reign of our 


gracious Queen. There are many projects before the public, 
many of them most excellent projects, for commemorating the 
Jubilee year ; but I know of no method which would make this 
Jubilee year more glorious, more memorable, or more lastingly 
beneficial to the 300,000,000 subjects of the. Queen than that 
this year should be marked by a renewed determination and by 
a reiterated national decision that under no temptation, either 
of momentary advantage or transient profit — under no tempta- 
tion, however alluring, no matter how eminent may be the man 
who attempts to beguile you — under no circumstances of any 
sort or kind will the British democracy consent to dismember 
the dominions of the Queen or disintegrate her empire. For 
this purpose all that is required is a free exercise of qualities 
peculiarly British — common sense, a dogged determination not 
to be bullied out of the right into the wrong, a love of fair play 
and common honesty. If these qualities are abundantly dis- — 
played, then I have no doubt in my mind that all our present *d 
difficulties, great as they seem, will be in no long time sur-^— 
mounted. In a few years we shall wonder at the care and the^s 
anxiety which they cost us ; and surely in time to come, whe 
all this trouble will be but as ancient history, when many of 
who now take part in public affairs will have passed away, anion 

the innumerable legions of your sons and of your grandsons 
there will be none to doubt or to deny that those were right an<==M 
those were wise who, by the breadth of their policy and th^ -i 
liberality of their laws, confided freely and without misgiving t— c 
the British democracy the government and the guardianship < >f 
the United Kingdom. 


Nottingham, April 19, 1887. 

spite of continued attacks upon Lord Randolph Churchill by 
rho had previously avowed their adherence to his opinions, his 
ity was unabated, as the meeting at which the following speech 
livered helped to prove. The streets of Nottingham were 
impassable long before his arrival in the town, and the ' Times ' 
that * the entire route was lined with people, the procession 
■eceived with continuous and hearty cheers.' The speech, 
id in the Albert Hall, was mainly devoted to the Irish 
n, and it is given here in an abridged form.] 

r R chairman, Mr. Rolleston, has congratulated you upon 
his meeting as a sign — an encouraging sign — of the 
«h of the Unionist party in Nottingham, and your chair- 
ade a remark in connection with that subject to which I 
ude. He said that the Tory party in Nottingham had 
m too much flattered by the constant attention of the 
of the Tory party. That is probably the reason you are 
ag. You have not been dry-nursed into power. You 
rown of your own strength, and I particularly sympathise 
>ur condition, because, in a way, your position is much my 
Any little political success which in former years I have 
ble to obtain was certainly not derived from having been 
way pampered or flattered by too constant attention from 
ders of the Tory party. I have known many places and 
in England which have been pampered and flattered by 
it attention from the leaders of the Tory party, where 
rty itself does not possess anything like so much popular 
h as you possess at the present day in Nottingham. 


Therefore I hope you will not make any such complaint, or look 
upon yourself as injured or damaged because up to the present 
moment no great Tory statesmen or Ministers have been among 

[After some remarks on the pamphlet c Parnellism and 
Crime/ the speaker proceeded to consider the position of the 
Irish question.] 

The party with which you have to deal in Ireland is a revo- 
lutionary party. It is no new contest which yon have to face. 
This party has existed for many generations in Ireland, and it 
is the same party to-day, so far as regards its principles and 
object, as it has ever been. Its principles are undying and 
remorseless hatred of British rule in Ireland. Its object is the 
total separation of Ireland from Great Britain, and the placing 
of Ireland under the protection of a foreign Power. At the 
end of the last century this party existed in Ireland in great 
strength. Owing, to its action the French invaded Ireland at 
the end of the last century. They were commanded by one of 
the most brilliant French generals. A small force of French 
troops landed and defeated the troops of the Irish Parliament ; 
and if it had not been for the failure of the French to support 
the troops that had landed, and the failure of the Irish revolu- 
tionary party to act up to their professions, it is possible that 
Ireland at this moment might have been a French province. 
This revolutionary party in 1798 broke out into open rebellion 
against the Irish Parliament, and the Irish Parliament was 
only able to suppress the rebellion by the aid of British troops. 
Ten thousand British troops were lent by the British Parlia- 
ment to the Irish Parliament, and the rebellion was put 
down. That Rebellion produced the Union. The Irish Par- 
liament and the Irish Government proved with regard to the 
French invasion and the rebellion of 1798 that it was utterly 
impotent to preserve either the internal order or the external 
security of Ireland, and consequently Mr. Pitt constructed and 
concluded the Union between the two countries, and the 
Irish Parliament and the Irish Government were incorporated 
and united with the English Parliament and English Govern* 


ment in consequence of those great historical facts, and of the 
great danger which your forefathers passed through at that 
time. It is a great mistake to say that the Irish Parliament 
has ceased to exist : it has not. The Irish Parliament exists at 
the present moment, only it exists in the bosom of the Parlia- 
ment of the United Kingdom. The principle of the Act of 
Union was this : that by incorporating the Irish Parliament into 
the British Parliament you added to the authority of the Irish 
Government and the Irish Parliament the whole weight, the 
whole resources, and the whole irresistible might of Britain. 
By the Act of Union your forefathers constructed, as it were, 
a great barrier and a great fortification against the attempts 
and the attacks of the revolutionary party in Ireland. That was 
the Act of Union. On several occasions since the year 1800 
the Irish revolutionary party — the same party as to-day — have 
made desperate attempts to capture and to overthrow that forti- 
fication. In 1806, in 1833, and in 1818, and again in 1866, 
they made desperate efforts to overthrow that fortification. 
But on these occasions the Imperial Parliament came to the 
aid of the Irish Government, and thus the Irish Government 
was able to cope with these outbreaks and to suppress those 
attempts. There never perhaps was a more dangerous move- 
ment against Imperial authority in Ireland than the Fenian 
movement of 1866. The Fenian movement of 1866 was a 
popular movement in Ireland. Its ramifications penetrated 
into every class of society. The shopkeepers in the town, 
soldiers in the army, servants in the houses of the gentry, 
even some of the upper classes and some of the respectable 
middle classes, took part in or sympathised with the Fenian 
movement. But owing to the might and the determination of 
the Imperial Parliament that movement was put down. In 
1880, after Ireland had been at peace for many years, after a 
great period of progress towards prosperity, the revolutionary 
party set to work again, and the revolutionary party of Ireland 
this time acquired great popular strength by identifying them- 
selves with an assault upon the payment of rent in Ireland, and 
that policy was Aided by the failure of crops in 1879-80, which 


el ports of Ireland resulted almost in (amine. They acquired 
zreas strath by idenrJying themselTes with a resistance to 
the rilflnent ot eoorract3 and legal obligations. They also 
jcqi:r*=d gr?az Rkriia'nentary strength by the extension of the 
Ir^Jn franchise in I 6c4. Now. I wish to direct attention to this. 
I know no instance, though I search all history — I can find no 
instance more striking ot" national magnanimity or nationil 
z^nerofcity than the treatment of Ireland upon that question of 
tee franchise by the Imperial Parliament in 1684. There was 
not a man in the House of Commons in 1681 who did not know 
:hat that extension of the franchise would throw almost the 
whole Parliamentary representation of Ireland into the hands of 
' h*r Repeal party. There was not one of ns who did not know 
;\ and who was not prepared and was not calculating upon 
.meiise Parliamentary and national difficulties in consequence 
■: it. Did that prevent us from doing that which we believed 
10 b>- justice to Ireland ? It did not. The Imperial Parlia- 
ment held that equal laws were the basis of the Union, and that 
: he Irish should enjoy the same political privileges as the British. 
They ran all those risks ; they deliberately, and with their eyes 
• p'-n. incurred those dangers, so that the Irish people might not 
have it in their power to say, 'You British possess greater 
political freedom than we possess/ I want you to bear in 
mind that fact when our Parliament and our system of govern- 
ment in Ireland are assailed as despotic, as irresponsible, as 
cruel, and barbarous. You have only to bear in mind that fact 
and to state that fact to dissipate at once accusations of that 

We have again a desperate attempt made by the revolu- 
lioiiary party, which has acquired popular strength and Parlia- 
mentary strength, in the manner which I have described, to 
overthrow and capture the great fortification of the Union. 
On this occasion the means of resistance open to the Unionists 
are not so effective as they have been on former occasions. 
We have traitors in and deserters from the Unionist camp. The 
Imperial Parliament, so far as (ireat Britain is concerned, is no 
longer united in resistance to the revolutionary party in Ireland. 


Since the year 1841 Mr. Gladstone has been continuously in 
Parliament, and frequently in office. He has been during that 
period, from 18-41 to 1886, about twenty-six or twenty-seven 
years in office as a Minister of the Crown. During that time 
he has held high office, Cabinet office, and has been Prime 
Minister for a considerable term of years. During all that time, 
from 1841 to 1886, whether in or out of office, Mr. Gladstone 
has steadily and unwaveringly resisted the revolutionary party in 
Ireland. He has resisted it by force — by sheer, unadulterated, 
undiluted force— on several occasions. He has resisted them also 
by endeavouring to remove any popular grievance which might 
add to the strength in Ireland of the revolutionary party. It is a 
very difficult calculation to estimate how many persons in Ireland 
and out of Ireland, members of that revolutionary party, have 
been either executed on the scaffold or sent to prison to penal 
servitude for life, or for terms of years, or otherwise punished, 
mainly, if not entirely, owing to the leading and the guiding atti- 
tude of resistance to the revolutionary party which Mr. Gladstone 
has during forty-five years maintained. I own that I do not 
envy Mr. Gladstone his feelings on that subject. He now 
acknowledges that the claims of the Irish revolutionary party 
are just and must be conceded. Surely, when he makes this 
acknowledgment, he must think to himself of the number of 
persons whose lives he has contributed to sacrifice and whose 
liberty he has contributed to take away because they tried to 
impress upon the Imperial Parliament the same conclusions 
which he is now impressing upon them. I say that must be an 
unpleasant reflection for Mr. Gladstone at his time of life. Up 
to the year 1886 — up to January 1886 — the Unionist party, 
which we represent here to-day in this hall, comprised all sec- 
tions of English political opinion without exception — Tories, 
Whigs, Radicals — all of them devoted, however great their 
differences may be on other matters, to this great principle of the 
maintenance of the Union — that is to say, the maintenance of 
one Parliament for the three kingdoms. The Unionist party 
still comprises representatives of all shades of English political 
opinion. Within the ranks of the Unionists there fight Tories, 
VOL. n. M 


Whigs, and Radicals : but. unfortunately, there has been a 
gr^at defection : a large section of the Radical party and a 
considerable .action °f tne Liberal party have deserted the 
Unionist standard and gone over to the enemy and joined the 
rank- of the revolutionary party. Mr. Gladstone has now 
desert*! his former standard, and implores Parliament and the 
people n« • longer to struggle with this party in Ireland, but to 
make a complete surrender and give over the government of 
Ireland into their hands. Mr. Gladstone and his party now 
declare, in contradiction to everything they have said in former 
years, that the Imperial Parliament is unable to govern Ireland ; 
that the British people are unable to preserve their connection 
with Ireland and to maintain their authority there. What we 
have to do is to show that we can govern Ireland. We have 
to prove to the Knglish people and to Mr. Gladstone and his 
followers that they are wrong in their conclusion ; that the 
strength and the resolution of Britain are as great as ever they 
were, and that we are perfectly able, of our own skill, of our own 
intelligence, of our own sense of justice, and of our own Teaoln- 
tinn to govern Ireland peacefully and thus lead her to prosperity. 
That is what we have now to try and prove. That is what the 
(Government an* trying to prove by asking Parliament to sanc- 
tion the measure they have laid before it. If we fail, then un- 
doubtedly the revolutionary party will win the day. We cannot 
afford to lose this battle. We cannot afford to give up an ad- 
vantage. If we cannot restore order in Ireland, if we cannot 
restore the authority of the law and give to the individual Irish- 
man security for life and property, then undoubtedly we shall 
have to make way for the revolutionary party, and we shall have 
to say to them, % You do for Ireland what we have failed to do/ 
But we are trying to avoid that conclusion. And for that 
purpose we must strike strongly and speedily at crime and at 
outrage in Ireland. 

It is perfectly evident that on this question of Home Rule 
the Liberal party will never again be united. Till they are united 
it is perfectly impossible for Mr. Gladstone to carry his policy to 
a successful issue, and on this policy of Repeal they will never 

the Revolutionary pahty in Ireland 163 

be- united unless this Government fails to effect their purpose of 
restoring order in Ireland and fails to carry out the high 
mission with which the constituencies intrusted them. Of this 
you may be sure — that if the Government and the Unionist 
party succeed, as I believe they will succeed, in restoring order, 
in giving back tranquillity to Ireland, and if they are successful 
in perpetuating in a practical manner the Union between the 
two countries, the people of this country will continue to give 
to the Unionist party their overwhelming support. They will 
do it for this reason — one of the greatest and most sensible 
motives of action — on the ground that nothing succeeds like 
success ; and you may depend upon it that if Mr. Gladstone 
and his followers sustain once more such a defeat as they sus- 
tained at the last general election — if another general election 
comes upon them and is as disastrous to them as the last — you 
may depend upon it that they, or what remains of them, will be 
uncommonly sick of Honle Rule, uncommonly sick of their policy 
of Repeal, and will begin to turn over in their minds seriously 
whether there is any chance of their obtaining any influence 
with Parliament or with the country, unless they abandon 
and repudiate altogether the policy of the Repeal of the Union. 
Therefore we may be confident that if we can only pull through 
this crisis, on the whole a good time lies before us. But what 
we have got to do is to pull through. No doubt we have 
many difficulties before us. We shall have most protracted 
and wearisome debates in Parliament ; we shall have, very likely, 
most unpleasant and painful scenes in the House of Commons ; 
we shall have a neglect and laying aside of English and Scotch 
business ; we shall have from Mr. Gladstone and his followers 
every kind of appeal to all the influences of terror, cowardice, 
and desperation. That is what we have got to face, but we 
must not mind; we must struggle on, because the Union is 
worth struggling for. The Union is the life of the British 
Empire, and it is worth fighting for. To maintain the unity 
of the empire of the United States, the Northern Americans 
fought a bloody civil war for four years. They went through 
every privation, every danger, every sacrifice which a State 

x 2 


could go through, and for four years that great continent was 
traversed and harassed by contending armies; but they were 
successful. They preserved the union of the United States ; 
and set* how illimitable the power of the United States is at 
present. We have not come to such a pass as that. We are 
nut nearly so badly off as they were, and nothing will induce 
nie to believe that the Union Jack and all it symbolises is less ^ 
precious to a Briton than the Stars and Stripes to the American^ 


House op Commons, April 21, 1887. 

[The chief feature of Mr. Goschen's first Budget, in 1887, was 
the manufacture of a fictitious surplus by the partial suspension of 
the Sinking Fund— a contrivance which astonished many persons 
y*rho had confidently looked forward to some great and original 
stroke of genius, and who were disappointed at finding nothing more 
than an expedient for raising money which has been condemned by 
&11 great financiers, unless under pressure of the sternest necessity. 
This Budget was criticised by Lord Randolph Churchill in two 
speeches, the material parts of which are here given.] 

r I^HE estimated surplus of revenue over expenditure for the 
— L coming year is something like 700,000/., which is greatly 
clue to the reductions which were made in the estimated Navy 
expenditure before I left the Government, and in that of the 
^Ajrmy which have been made since. I pass to a matter that in- 
terests me more than any other, but which I am not able to deal 
<**rith at the present moment, and with regard to which I cannot 
take the strong line of action which I should have been disposed 
-fco take on account of the vital issue which is now before Parliament 
and the country. After listening to the right honourable gentle- 
man to-night for some three hours it is with sincere and real regret 
fclrat I have come to the conclusion that he has not said one 
word on the subject of economy and retrenchment. I regret the 
Gact for many reasons. I regret it on account of the importance 
of the question itself, and I regret it on account of the position of 
the right honourable gentleman himself. Never did a Chancellor 
of the Exchequer join a Government more capable, more qualified, 
or more powerful to deal with such a question. The Chancellor 
of the Exchequer came into the Government not only with a great 
anc ^ justly deserved financial reputation, but in such a way that 


on the question of retrenchment he had only to say, Sic volo, sic 
jubeo, for the Government could not hate afforded to quarrel with 
another Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now, what is the state 
of the case ? The -Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to re- 
view with much more care the Civil Service Estimates than the 
Army and Navy Estimates, and to suggest that a reduction 
might be made in that quarter more effectually than in the 
Army and Navy. I disagree entirely with that view. I believe 
that there are reductions possible in the Civil Service Estimates, 
but I should not put the amount at very much more than 
250,000/. All I want is that the State shall get full value for 
its money. I now come to the Army and Navy. The Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, I much regret to say, did not take up 
the view which I took up. What I found was this — that be- 
tween 1883 and 1885 there was a total gross increase in the 
average annual expenditure on the Army and Navy of no less 
than six millions of money. The Chancellor of the Exchequer 
never alluded to that increase. All he alluded to was the in- 
crease on the Army and Navy which was due to what he called 
the 'n&val scare' of 1884, but the increase of expenditure due 
to the scare does not account for the large annual increase of six 
millions, nor for half of it. The ' naval scare ' accounted for 
an increase last year and this year of about 2,700,0001. You 
cannot put it higher than that, leaving 3,300,0002. unaccounted 
for. That is the point to which I should like to draw attention. 
1 want to know what are the circumstances, domestic or foreign, 
which have caused you to increase the cost of your army and 
navy since 1883 by the sum of 3,000,000?. That is the point 
on which I should like to have the Chancellors opinion. It is no 
use the Chancellor of the Exchequer lecturing the House about 
the Civil Service Estimates ; what the Chancellor of the Exche- 
quer has got to do is this — if he believes an increase of expendi- 
ture to be necessary in a great department, he has got to place 
that upon the taxes of the country. If he places it on the taxes, 
and the taxes are raised, then the great body of the tax-payers 
will begin to feel the pinch, and will put pressure upon their 
members to reduce expenditure ; and the moment they feel the 
necessity of being economical then Parliament will cease to make 


proposals for fresh expenditure to the Chancellor of the Exche- 
quer. But so long as he does not put the increase of ex- 
penditure on the taxes of the country, but continues by one 
financial method or another to conceal it from the country, so 
long will he be able to accuse Parliament of increasing the 
cost of the public service. It is from the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer alone that reduction must come. That is the only 
way in which you will have retrenchment. 1 am told that 
economy is very unpopular — that the people like a strong army 
and a large navy, coaling stations and fortifications. Then, I 
say, Test it ; place it on the taxation. There is a gross annual 
increase on the army and navy, as I have explained. Has the 
Chancellor placed that on the taxes? He has not. He has 
manufactured a surplus by reducing the provision for the re- 
payment of the capital of the National Debt. I cannot believe 
it is his Budget — nothing will induce me to believe it. It has 
been made for him partly by general political circumstances and 
partly by the persuasions, I will not call them prejudices, of the 
colleagues with whom he has to deal. In not placing the 
increase in armaments on the general tax-payers of the country, 
I say he has injured the cause of economy and retrenchment. 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has dealt with the provision 
for the reduction of National Debt. On that subject I want to 
say that I believe that large operations are possible and desirable 
with regard to our present arrangements for the repayment of 
the National Debt ; but I wish to point out that the six 
millions annually devoted to the National Debt is a tremendous 
financial reserve. It is a great weapon, which the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer ought to guard as the apple of his eye, to use only 
in cases of emergency. What I protest against is taking from the 
fund for repayment of the National Debt and applying money 
so taken in order to meet your increased expenditure on arma- 
ments which, if they are justified or desired by the country, ought 
to be placed upon the taxes. That is a point on which I feel most 
strongly. I venture to tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer that 
the plan he has chosen is a most unfortunate one. 1 regret more 
than I can say that this great principle of the repayment of the 
National Debt has been interfered with for so light, so trivial, 


and so unsound a cause. I regret that a great weapon has bee 
tampered with, blunted, and spoiled for future use. I do nc 
know whether it is possible for the right honourable gentle 
man to reconsider his proposals ; but whether he does so or not, 
am certain that they violate all the financial principles in whic 
he has been trained, which he has proclaimed, and which h 
hoped when he got into office to impress on Parliament and oi 
the country. 


House op Commons, April 25, 1887. 

J DESIRE to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer amic- 
ably, but pointedly, what are his views on the subject of 
economy and retrenchment in the public expenditure ? Let 
Xiim tell the House fairly and frankly whether he is of opinion 
"fchat the views which I have expressed as to the possibility and 
t^he desirability and the necessity of retrenchment are views 
in which he does not concur, or views in which he honestly 
ooncurs, and which he will use his great power and influence 
"to give effect to. In 1885 the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
did not agree with the gentlemen among whom he now sits. 
He was an independent supporter of the right honourable 
gentleman opposite, and in those days he placed himself on a 
laigh pinnacle of political honesty. He said that he was not 
going to delude or to humbug the democracy, but would tell 
tliem the truth upon all subjects, whether they liked it or not ; 
and it is within my recollection that from that pinnacle which 
ixe occupied in 1885 he looked down on such unfortunate mortals 
as the present Prime Minister, and such still more unfortunate 
individuals as myself. His speeches at that time showed that 
tilie Chancellor of the Exchequer had very little confidence in 
ns, which was very painful to me, and possibly also to the Prime 
Minister. The right honourable gentleman will not go back from 
what he said in Edinburgh in 1885. His words were not intended 
as mere phrases, but were bond fide, honest expressions of political 
opinion which he would be ready to give effect to if he came 
into office. I ask the House to allow me to read a few extracts 
from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speeches on this ques- 
tion of retrenchment. The principles of economy are just as 


much concerned in the manner by which you raise revenue as 
they are concerned in the manner by which you spend revenue. 
We must be economical not only in the way we expend but in 
the way we raise money. I have here ten extracts, but I will 
not read them all. I will have mercy on the House. I take the 
third, which is very remarkable. In a speech which he made 
on October 21 , 1885, at Hendon, the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
used these words : c The Conservatives hold that such men as 
Lord Hartington, Lord Derby, Mr. Guilders, and others of that 
stamp, are going to betray the traditions of which they are the 
heirs — that they are going to throw over Gladstonian finance, 
Gladstonian views of economy, and, more than that, of national 
retrenchment. I call that an offensive view, to which I never 
will subscribe.' Now, sir, I ask the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, when he rises to reply, to show the House how 
this method of dealing with the sinking fund for this par- 
ticular purpose is in accordance with Gladstonian finance, 
Gladstonian economy, Gladstonian views as to national expendi- 
ture, and, more than that, Gladstonian views of national re- 
trenchment. But I take another passage. The Chancellor of 
the Exchequer said : ' The Liberal party have been, and, I 
trust, always will be, the guardians of the public purse — guar- 
diaus willing even to incur some amount of unpopularity rather 
than be the ruthless spendthrifts of the national resources placed 
in their hands.' He then went on to make a comparison drawn 
from private life. He proceeded : l Although there may be 
public administrators of whom it may be said, " There is no 
niggardly economy there- -they spend their money like gentle- 
meu,'' why do they not remember at every point that the money 
which they spend comes from the taxation of 'the people?' 
These sentiments are, 1 think, not wholly dissimilar from those 
which I humbly expressed at the time when I left the Govern- 
ment. I come now to the last quotation with which I shall 
trouble the House. The right honourable gentleman, speaking 
on November 2 1< at Edinburgh, said : ' Let me pass from legis- 
lative proposals to some matters of importance with regard to 
the administration of the country. One great point is that of 
national expenditure and national economy, which is becoming 


rapidly less popular than it used to be. I confess that I cannot 
see in certain candidates for Parliamentary honours any sign 
that they will be ferocious guardians of the public purse. Be- 
lieve me, some little ferocity is necessary.' I ask the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, when he rises to defend his proposal, and 
when he remembers these words that he has spoken, how he 
can prove that he has been a guardian of the public purse, 
willing even to incur some unpopularity — I ask him to show 
how the proposal which he now makes in regard to the debt, 
and the absence from his Budget of provisions as to retrench- 
ment, are consistent with the pledge which he gave to the 
people of Edinburgh, that he would be a zealous and ferocious 
guardian of the public revenue. 

I have prefaced my observations with these quotations, because 
I had felt until last Thursday night that, at any rate on the ques- 
tion of economy, I had a warm ally and a true supporter in the 
right honourable gentleman. But what is the effect on economy 
of his proposal ? I imagine that the right honourable gentleman 
will not deny that an essential part of an economical policy must 
be the laying aside of money to repay debt. But if, for the par- 
ticular purpose of making a popular remission of taxation, you 
withdraw from the provision which former Governments have 
made for the repayment of debt, how can you argue that you 
are pursuing a truly economical policy ? Surely the effect of 
this proposed remission of taxation, which is the purpose for 
which he withdraws 2,000,000?. from the fund for the repay- 
ment of debt — the effect of that remission on the public mind 
must be that people will think and say there is no great em- 
barrassment caused by our present heavy public expenditure, 
nor can there be any real inefficiency in the public departments. 
Obviously, the stir made by myself and others about the expen- 
diture, the increase of the expenditure, and departmental in- 
efficiency was wholly uncalled for ; there can be nothing of the 
kind, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer this year is able 
to remit one penny of the income-tax, to remit 000,000/. of 
the tobacco duty, and to grant 330,000/. in aid of local rates. 
That must be the effect on the public mind. The public mind 
has been brought with the greatest difficulty to bear on this 


question of public expenditure. The public were perfectly ready 
to place confidence in the Government ; nor did I do anything 
whatever to prevent any portion of the public from placing 
confidence in the Government on that point. But the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer has dashed all my hopes on that subject. 
I am certain that the feeling on the part of the large mass of 
the people in consequence of this Budget is likely to be that 
the stir which has been made about high expenditure is a 
matter Vith which they need not much concern themselves, and 
they will feel that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer is able to 
make so large a remission of taxation they need not trouble ^s 
themselves about anything else. I wish to ask the righted* 
honourable gentleman, are those his views and wishes? Is tha LJ „t 
the frame of mind in which he made these speeches in 1885 ? I ns-r^ ^g 
it a frame of mind that will bring credit on this House, andEZ» J 
especially on the Conservative party — a frame of mind of care- ^-n* 
lessness and almost of recklessness as to the progress of public ^Eic 
expenditure? The members of the House of Commons ar -j. j* 
often blamed for their extravagant tendencies, but I repudiat-z^-ta 
the accusation. I assert that the House of Commons canned _mo1 
be economical unless the Government of the day is economica^E=»i. 
All the great expenditure in the past has been because tfcJCe 
Government led the way. When the Government has a chc -*a- 
racter for thrift, then members refrain from pressing proposErzsds 
for expenditure, because they know that they have to do wLiZL th 
a Government which has a tight hold on the public purse. I 

say, therefore, that unless the Government leads the way duzmxd 
puts its foot down, it is useless to lay the duty and the respon- 
sibility of economy in expenditure on Parliament. 

I shall be told that retrenchment is impossible — that the« 
is no great retrenchment possible— and that the increase in tlw 
army and navy expenditure is one which the country must 
bear. Well, all I can say is, go back to former times. In I860 
you had a Government in office determined on a retrenchment 
policy, and the Army and Navy Estimates, which stood then at* 
twenty-seven and a half millions, were by 1865 reduced to 
twenty-two and a half millions, or a reduction of five million^ 
in five years. In 1808 the estimates were twenty-five millions, 


nd by 1871 they had been reduced to twenty-one millions, or 
, reduction of four millions in three years. What do we 
ind in this year? Since 1883 the average army and navy 
xpenditure has been raised six millions. Does the right 
tonourable gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer mean to 
ay, in view of the figures of former years, that it is impossible 
o decrease that expenditure? I challenge him frankly and 
inicably on that point to say whether large retrenchments are 
lot possible ; and I invite him to declare, in view of this state 
f things, whether he means to contend that the action he has 
aken now with regard to the present Budget will strengthen 
is hands. I wish the House to consider itself as a judicial 
ribnnal, without party prejudices on one side or the other, and 
wish to put two Chancellors of the Exchequer before them and 
py their standard of finance. I will put the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer of the late Government, the member for Derby (Sir W. 
[arcourt) and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer before 
le House and I will ask the House to say frankly which presents 
le nearest approach to the best standard of financial morality. 
he circumstances of the two were identical, except that the 
resent Chancellor of the Exchequer was a little more favoured 
y increase of the revenue. The circumstances of the time 
re identical. There was no possibility of any great measure 
f financial reform. The House was occupied last year, and is 
ccupied this, with the Irish question. The Chancellor of the 
Exchequer last year had to meet a large increase of military and 
taval expenditure ; and what was the course he took ? There 
oust have been an enormous temptation to make a large remission 
►f taxation. The Government then was advocating a scheme for 
Ireland which might obviously have been advanced considerably 
fry a popular remission of taxation. Whether the temptation 
presented itself or not I do not know ; but I know this, that, 
bo far from touching the sinking fund, the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer of last year revived no less than three millions of that 
fand which had been suspended ; and the consequence of his 
doing that was that he was not able to make any remission of 
Nation. He told the country fairly, * 1 cannot lower the taxa- 
feii, and you have got to meet it.' Can the Chancellor of the 


Exchequer of to-day put his conduct in the same light ? He 
does not maintain the sinking fund ; he makes a grab at it. 
He takes two millions of the sinking fund, and with it he makes a . 
remission of taxation. I know it is pleasant to have a remission 
of taxation ; but what we have to consider is whether that remis- 
sion may not cost us more than the benefit which we derive. When 
you embark in unsound finance you pay dearly for it. I have 
been told that this is a very clever stroke of policy — this remis- 
sion of taxation. I can only say that the right honourable 
gentleman was the last person who should interfere with the 
sinking fund. It is impossible for any one to go into the 
Treasury and not see that great fund at which the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer has made a grab staring him in the face. 
There is no cleverness in discovering this fund and in manu- 
facturing a surplus. Anybody can do it, and I believe every 
Chancellor of the Exchequer is tempted to do it. I do not 
believe there is one who has not longed to make a depredatory 
raid upon that fund. As has been pointed out, every Chancellor 
of the Exchequer has hitherto resisted the temptation. No donbt 
it was interfered with in 1885. The right honourable gentleman 
opposite l in that year had to find fourteen millions of money ; of 
this four and a half millions were taken out of the sinking fund, 
three millions more were borrowed, and the Government pro- 
posed, had they remained in office, to raise the rest by taxation. 
This is the first time that the fund is resorted to for such a pur- 
pose as is now proposed, and I deplore that it should be a Con- 
servative Government which has attempted it ; I deeply regret 
what has been done. 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has fallen a victim to a 
temptation which has strongly assailed every Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, and which everyone up till now has been strong 
enough to resist. I do not say that there are not occasions 
when you may deal with the sinking fund. There maybe occa- 
sions for large operations. It might be very useful in time of 
war. You might use it under certain circumstances which I 
will not describe, but which may be supposed, to carry out 
large taxation reforms which might excite great opposition, 

1 Mr. Childere. 


and by using this fund you might allay that opposition and make 
a beneficial increase to your resources. But there is another 
use of the sinking fund, and I think the right honourable gen- 
tleman ! alluded to it in his speech last year on the Irish Land 
Bill. I think he said he would not have proposed so large an 
operation as the creation of fifty millions of stock if it were not 
for the enormous power exercised by the Commissioners of the 
Rational Debt over Consols. It is not within reasonable pro- 
lability that the value of Consols would suffer any large depre- 
ciation as long as the Commissioners of the National Debt have 
trhat great sum of money at their disposal with which to sustain 
the price of Consols. Here we have a weapon which might be 
xased in connection with Ireland, if English credit is to be re- 
•rted to for Irish land legislation, but it is the last weapon 
n the world that you should seek to weaken, or fall back upon 
nless for a great purpose. Does the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer really consider that the remission of one penny in the 
\ income-tax is a great purpose ? Does he think that he will 
:- lereby add appreciably to the prosperity of the country, or for 
tore than a passing moment increase the popularity of the 
overnment ? Imagine the effect of the principle he lias laid 
own. If he can do this, what may not any one else do ? He came 
the Exchequer with the highest reputation. Others before 
im had a reputation to make. He approached the Treasury 
■ith a reputation ready made. He was the orthodox apostle 
-he was the canonised saint of the financial purists. The 
xiancial experts are already mourning over his false economy, 
as the right honourable gentleman read the article in the 
*" ^Economist' on his Budget ? When he was appointed Chancellor 
^>*the Exchequer, I remember that the ' Economist' said, 'Well, 
"^laank God that at last we have got a Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
^nd that, having gone over every kind of financial impostor,' 
including my unfortunate self, c we have at last got a recognised 
financial genius/ 1 will read a short passage from the i Economist. ' 
It says : ' But Mr. Goschen does not intend to leave the 
present arrangements unaltered, and the chief alteration he 
proposes is one which, coming from him, we regard with the 
1 Mr. Gladstone. 


greatest regret and disappointment. He wishes to lay violent 
hands upon the debt sinking fund and appropriate no less than 
2,000,0001. of the amount we now devote each year to tie 
redemption of the debt. As we show elsewhere, the excuse he 
offers for this is of the flimsiest kind, and it should take argu- 
ments far more cogent than he has yet advanced, or will, in oar 
opinion, be able to advance, to induce Parliament to reverse the 
policy which in this matter it has deliberately adopted/ Whit 
has the Chancellor of the Exchequer got to say to that ? The 
'Economist' concludes: 'Altogether, then, Mr. Goschen's Budget 
is, though clever, very far indeed from satisfactory, and it ii 
weak just where we should have expected to find the strength 
of so able a financier most conspicuously displayed.' I have no 
reason to feel any great respect for the ' Economist.' It never 
gave me any credit for financial ability ; and I only quote it is 
an authority which had told us that the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer would lead us in courses of financial rectitude and 
purity, and which now tells us he has done the reverse. 

The Committee may think I have spoken too strongly on 
these matters. I cannot help feeling strongly, because I fed 
that all those hopes I had entertained that the Tory party 
would have taken up and would have identified themselves 
with a policy of sound finance, economy, and retrenchment are 
shattered. We had an immense opportunity for placing before 
the country in the financial proposals of the year our adherenc« 
to a policy of economy and retrenchment. We are now goins? 
to plunge into the Irish question, with which many weeks wft 
be occupied, and financial matters are not likely to come before 
us again for a considerable time. A golden opportunity fc v 
showing the country what our policy was has been lost. Th* 
Government have been unfortunately tempted, unless there is * 
glimmer of hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer ma^ 
reconsider his proposals, to court a little popularity which tbe^ 
did not in the least require. They are strong enough, in aL 
conscience, on the question of the Union. Apparently, to cour -1 
a little popularity, under the impression that they are weak : 
they are tempted to make a remission of taxation which ira 
reality will benefit no one, and which will inflict a fatal bio* 


mcial arrangements for paying off the debt built up by 
ies in the House, through Parliament after Parliament : 
ontinuous policy which has been added to by one party 
)ther, and which has never been interfered with except 

of emergency. Now we are deliberately identifying 
\ with the policy of ceasing to pay off the National 
would ask the Government whether it is not possible to 
*r that particular proposal. It is not necessary for the 
or of the Exchequer to touch the sinking fund. He 
le resources at his disposal. If he leaves the sinking 
ae and remits a penny of income tax, he will still have 
3 of 400,000Z. If he does not reduce the income tax, 
era to take off the tobacco duty, he will have a balance 
OOZ. If he touches neither of these, and confines himself 
jf of the rates, he will have a balance of 900,000Z. He 
any of these things if he will only leave the sinking 
>ne ; and he is touching it for a purpose so paltry and 
ous that I fail to understand for one moment how it 
ered into his mind, and how the right honourable gentle- 
jr him, and particularly the First Lord of the Treasury, 

his policy. I beg the Chancellor of the Exchequer to 
hat I only make these remarks because of my intense 
lest desire that the present Government, whose career, 
is going to be a long one, may enter upon and may 
> in the path of financial stability. 




Wolverhampton, Junk 3, 1887. 

[In this speech a large number of facts were brought together in 
illustration of the system under which the Army and Navy are 
managed, and against which Lord Randolph Churchill had protested 
in vain. These facts were all drawn from the evidence and reports 
of Royal Commissioners or Parliamentary Committees, and they 
remain as unassailable now as they were when first brought to the 
notice of the public. But the speech was attacked on the ground of 
its ' exaggerated ' statements, although not a single statement could 
be disproved. Great alarm, however, was excited in certain influen- 
tial quarters by that part of the speech in which Lord Randolph 
declared that he had a plan of reform ready which involved sweeping 
changes in the War Office and the Admiralty. After that intima- 
tion it was clearly perceived by men who understood the forces 
which were at work behind the scenes that Lord Randolph would 
not l.>e afforded an opportunity of carrying out his design. It became 
more than ever an object of solicitude with this class to banish hioa 
from office, and to place all his actions before the public in the mcv^ 
unfavourable light. The system attacked was far too powerful ti> 
yield without a prolonged struggle, the end of which has not ^6 

IK NOW that there are many here who must be largely en- 
gaged in the carrying on of practical business, and are ex -eel- 
lent judges as to the manner in which business ought ta-^ be 
conducted, and 1 am going to address you in your characte ■"=>■ ** 
men of business, representing, as you do, very faithfully and ^^eiy 
directly, an immense portion of the British people. I am gcz*fog 
to address you on what I consider a great subject, the expendi- 
ture of public money. This is a very large meeting. I Bap^* 080 
then 4 must bo some 1.000 or more gathered together in this lr»»H« 


I wonder how many of yon have the smallest idea as to how the 
money yon pay in taxes goes ? I do not propose to occupy 
your time with the expenditure of public money which is in- 
curred in the Civil Service. I think that there is room for 
great vigilance, considerable reform, and no inconsiderable re- 
duction in the expenditure of public money connected with the 
Civil Service of this country. But I see in that expenditure, 
after having studied it pretty closely, no glaring or profligate 
extravagance such as I shall have to bring under your notice. 
I recognise that the democracy of Britain is continually making 
fresh demands on the State, that the democracy expects the 
State to perform duties which in former days the State was 
allowed to leave to private enterprise, and I recognise that the 
tendency of modern social reform must tend to check any hopes 
of large decrease in our civil expenditure. No, gentlemen; 
what I am going to talk to you about to-night is the expendi- 
ture on the British Army and the British Navy. I tell you 
what decided me finally that no time should be lost in speaking 
out on this subject. I read the other day a speech made by 
Lord Wolseley with regard to the condition of the Army, and 
I entreat your attention to this extract. Lord Wolseley used 
these words. He said : i The Army authorities asked for re- 
quisites for the Army, and they were told that they must econo- 
mise in some way to get them. If guns were asked for, then 
the reply came that the fighting men must be reduced, or, under 
the same conditions, carts and horses, which were necessary 
for the Army, would not be supplied. If the country went on 
longer in this way knocking off cavalry and artillery whenever 
increased expenditure was required, the Army would soon be 
reduced to two men and a boy.' That is the statement of 
Xord Wolseley, who occupies the position of Adjutant-General, 
and is a great authority. I will tell you exactly what the facts 
are with regard to the numerical strength of your Army and 

I will go back to the year 1875, and I will tell you why 
fclat is a very good year on which to base a comparative esti- 
mate of public expenditure. Mr. Disraeli's Government was 
*** office, and Mr. Disraeli's Government and the party who 

N 2 


followed them had been of opinion through many of the preceding 
years that the Liberal Government which had preceded them had 
starved the services and reduced our Army and Navy danger- 
ously. They came into power in 1874, and you may take the 
estimates of the year 1875 as representing what, in the opinion 
of Mr. Disraeli and his colleagues, was necessary for the safety of 
the empire. Now, in the year 1875, l the cost of our Army was 
14,500,000Z. and the cost of our Navy was 10,900.000/.- 
altogether making a total of 25,400,000Z. That is the sum 
which Mr. Disraeli and his colleagues thought necessary to 
provide for the armaments of the country. In the present year 
the estimates for the Army are 18,300,000/., and for the Navy 
12,500,000/., making together 30,800,000/. So that we hare 
an increased expenditure on Army and Navy purposes over 
what Mr. Disraeli thought necessary for the safety of the 
country of 5,400,000/. Now, I want to tell you what has 
happened to the Army numerically since 1875. The Regular 
soldiers were in that year 129,000, and in 1887 they are 
141,000 men; so we have had an increase of 12,000 men & 
the Regular Army. In 1875 the Militia was 116,000 men; i» 
1887 they number 119,000 men, an increase of 3,000 men in 
the Militia. In 1875 the number of efficient Volunteers *b£ 
1G8,000; in 1887 they number 218,000. So we have had an 
increase of 50,000 to the efficient strength of the Volunteer*. 
The Army Reserve in 1875 was 30,000; in 1887 it is 57,000 
men, and therefore we have an increase of 27,000 men in the 
Army Reserve. But in addition to that we have the Indian 
Army, and our forces there have been increased by 10,000 
British and 30,000 native troops ; so that if I take Lord Wotoe- 
ley ? s statement of the Army being reduced to two men and a 
boy and test it by figures, I find that the British force has been 
increased, in one way or another, by 92,000, and the whole force 
of the British Empire by 132,000 men. Now, Lord Wolseley, 
a man in position, an authority, has, in the face of facts lik e 
these, come before the British public and alleged that, owing 

1 These figures are taken from the Estimates and Statistical Abstract ft* 
1875, and from the Estimates for 1887-88, and the Official Statement of U* 
Secretary of State for War. 


to the action of the Treasury and of Parliament, our Army is 
being reduced to two men and a boy. 

I pass from that to other matters of more importance. I 
have shown how there has been the large increase of nearly 
four millions in the cost of our Army since 1875. What I 
want to bring before you is that this large increase of expendi- 
ture is not accounted for by the numerical increase of strength 
I have demonstrated. That numerical increase of strength only 
accounts for some 700,000Z. of additional expenditure, if we 
take the estimates for food, pay, clothing and transport charges 
of the Army. Just in the same way with the British Navy, the 
increase of the cost of the Navy is 1,600,000/. over what it was 
in 1875, and our Navy is much the same in numerical strength 
of ships and sailors now as in 1875, although we have an in- 
creased cost. In 1875 we had 60,000 sailors ; in 1887 we 
have 62,000, an increase of 2,000. In 1875 we had 168 
steamships and 40 sailing ships in commission; in 1887 we 
have 164 steamships and 44 sailing ships in commission, practi- 
cally much the same; and yet we have an increased cost of 
nearly 2,000,000/. to bear. If I examine the Navy estimates 
for pay, food, and clothing, I find the increase of 2,000 men only 
accounts for some 200,000/. of the increased cost. The increased 
cost of the Army and Navy is not accounted for by the numerical 
increase, further than by some 900,000/. out of 5,000,000/. I 
hope I have made that clear. 

I will now ask your attention for a moment to a comparison 
of the military strength of the British Empire and the military 
strength of the French and German Empires, the two great 
empires of the continent of Europe, and the expenditure of 
the British Empire and the expenditure of those two great 
empires on military and naval armaments. The empire of 
Cermany spends 21,000,000/. annually as ordinary expenditure 
on army and navy purposes. The French Republic spends 
29,000,000/. annually as ordinary naval and military expendi- 
ture. The United Kingdom, our own country, has reached an 
ordinary naval and military expenditure of 3 1 ,000,000/. There- 
fore, yon see, we spend 10,000,000/. more than Germany on 
military and naval purposes, and 2,000,000/. more than France. 


But it would not be a fair comparison if we did not take into 
account the whole military expenditure of the British Empire, 
and for that purpose we must take the Indian expenditure, 
because we have identified the Indian military resources with 
our own resources at home, and on two occasions when it was 
necessary to make a great military display we have brought 
Indian troops to the scene of the struggle and incorporated them 
with our own troops. Therefore I am bound to add to our 
Imperial expenditure the expenditure which India is called 
upon to bear. India pays nearly 20,000,000?. annually for the 
Indian army. Now, what have we got to in the way of compara- 
tive expenditure. Germany expends 21,000,000?. on army and 
navy purposes, France 29,000,000?., and the British Empire 
51,000,000?. Let us see what these empires can respectively 
do for their expenditure. Germany for the expenditure of 
21 ,000,000/. can put into the field one and a half million armed 
men, and that does not include her enormous reserves. France 
can do much the same for her expenditure of 29,000,000?. a 
year. She can put into the field one and a half million of armed 
men; and mark this: the German and French fortresses are 
all of them fully provisioned and adequately armed. The German 
and the French troops are armed with the best artillery, the 
best rifles, the best weapons of every sort. The transport of the 
French army and the German army is most perfect, and their 
stores of ammunition and all munitions of war are full to 
overflowing. That is what they can do for their money. Let 
us see what the British Empire can do for an expenditure of 
51,000,000/. I suppose — though I believe military men will 
contest this — still 1 suppose that, if we went to war or had to 
defend ourselves, we might, after maddening delay, after pouring 
out money like water, possibly put in the field and maintain 
1 50,000 British soldiers. We could not do more. We have many 
fortresses in the United Kingdom and in the British Empire, and 
many strong places, places of strategic importance. We have 
not one single fortress that is properly or adequately armed. We 
have not one single fortress that is properly provisioned. We 
have a great many strong strategic places which are perfectly 
unarmed and perfectly unprovisioned, notwithstanding all our 


great expenditure. I will take the great fortress of Malta, in 
the Mediterranean, and I say that Malta is insufficiently and 
inadequately armed. It is not sufficiently provisioned to sup- 
port a garrison for three weeks. We have not one single heavy 
gun in reserve, not one of any sort or kind. We have not any 
reserve whatever of heavy projectiles for heavy guns. Our 
horse artillery, of which the British nation are so proud, is 
armed with what Lord Wolseley has described as the worst gun 
in Europe. Our field artillery is armed with a gun so inferior 
that it is to be replaced, and a new field artillery gun is being 
manufactured. But if we went to war to-morrow it would 
be armed with a most inferior weapon. Our British infantry, 
which was said to be the best in the world, is armed with 
rifles which have been proved in action to be defective, and of 
inferior description, while the bayonets bend and twist when 
strain is put upon them. Our cavalry are armed with swords 
of equally bad manufacture. This has all been proved ; it is 
on record. Our sailors are armed with cutlasses of the same 
worthless description, and this is a fact — that though at any 
moment we may be called upon to defend the empire, and put 
our army of 150,000 in the field, in spite of our vast expendi- 
ture on our home establishments of thirty-one millions, we 
have not got land transport for 20,000 men. That is our 
military and naval condition. 

Let me for one moment make a digression as to foreign 
policy. If that is our military and naval position — and I defy 
any one to contradict it — do you not think it is the most utter 
and glaring folly to talk about the ascendancy of England in 
the councils of Europe ? Do not you think it is the most utter 
and glaring folly for a Minister — if there were such a Minister 
— to dream of resisting the advance of the Russian Empire in 
the south-east of Europe by military force? If that is our 
naval and military condition, the Minister who knew that such 
was the naval and military condition of the country, and adopted 

a foreign policy such as some apparently advocate, would be a 


The blame for this state of things does not rest upon 

the British people, and it does not rest upon the House of 


Commons. The blame for it rests upon the system of oar 
naval and military administrations, upon our naval and military 
departments : the blame lies upon those who uphold that 
system, and who are responsible for it. Year after year, 
millions have been steadily voted by Parliament for the support 
of the Army and Navy. The House of Commons has nerve 
refused, on a single occasion, to vote whatever the Minister 
demanded. We have had not only the annual estimates : we 
have had since 1>70 two enormous votes of credit. Everything 
that has been asked for by the Minister has been given. Suc- 
cessive Secretaries of State, successive Lords of the Admiralty, 
haw solemnly assured Parliament that, in voting these millions, 
they were voting all that was necessary for the efficient defence 
of the country ; and yet, what I have said to you to-night with 
reference to the naval and military condition of the empire is 
absolutely true. That being so, perhaps some of you will 
understand the sort of system of public expenditure against 
which I dashed myself, and with which I utterly refused to be 
connected either for a day or for an hour longer than I could 
help, either as Minister or as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I 
had confidence in the First Lord of the Admiralty and the 
Secretary of State for War. I thought they were men of 
energy, and that if I put pressure upon them, by refusing to 
grunt the increased means they demanded, I thought they, 
acting under that pressure, would come to the determination 
to reform and revolutionise that rotten system of expenditure 
of public money. That was my hope. You may say my way 
of going to work was a rough-and-ready j)ne. So it was, but it 
was my only way. I was only Chancellor of the Exchequer: 
I was not First Lord of the Admiralty or Secretary of State for 
War. It was not my business to do their business. What I 
said was, c Your system is rotten and profligate. I will not be 
responsible for giving you increased grants of public money. 
Reform your system. Make seventeen millions wisely spent do 
what eighteen millions unwisely spent would not do. Make 
eleven millions wisely spent do what twelve and a half millions* 
will not do unwisely spent ; and having assured me and nx ^ 
colleagues in Parliament of your efforts to establish a soun — 


system of naval and military expenditure, then, if you must 
and will, go before Parliament and ask for an increased vote of 
public money.' 

I will now tell you two or three very interesting anecdotes, 
which will illustrate to you the truth of what I state as to your 
defenceless and unprepared condition. You will recollect that 
in 1881, on the morning before the bombardment of Alexandria, 
the French fleet sailed away from the harbour, and left the 
English fleet to do the work. The English fleet bombarded 
Alexandria. During the bombardment the 'Alexandra/ ' Teme- 
raire/ and ' Monarch/ heavy ships of war, fired a certain number 
of rounds of heavy shell from their eleven-inch guns. What do 
you think was the condition of these ships after the bombard- 
ment ? Suppose the French Admiral had returned and said, 1 1 
object to your landing sailors and troops in Egypt, and if you 
do I will open fire on you ; ' what do you think was the position 
and condition of the British sailors on board these ships ? They 
had only got about ten rounds of shell remaining for each of their 
eleven-inch guns ; ' and what is worse, there was not at that time 
any reserve whatever of eleven-inch shells for these guns in our 
great arsenal at Malta ! That was the condition of the reserve 
stores of the English fleet at that time. I will tell you another 
story even more startling. You remember the expedition to 
Khartoum. You remember the formation of the desert column 
which was to cut itself off from its base and to plunge into 
the desert on what seemed almost a forlorn hope. The life of 
that column depended upon its being properly equipped. The 
gallantry of the men was known. All that they wanted was to 
be properly equipped. Yet, when that column started, and 
when that column was in action, it was found that a large 
number of the shells which had been sent out for its artillery 
were too large for the guns which accompanied the column, and 
another portion of the shells —the shrapnel shells — had either 
not been filled or had been imperfectly filled, so that they would 

1 Lord Charles Beresford, speaking at the annual dinner of the Constitu- 
tional Union on June 8, 1887, said that 'had they been attacked at Alexandria 
&7 the French fleet they would have been in an awkward position, as they had 

n <* too much powder ; but that was not the fault of the Admiral, it was the 

2*QU of the system/ 


not explode. This is the condition in which the War Office sent 
that colamn of British soldiers to do their work. That is a fact ; 
)>it I will giw you another. Yon are aware that in modern war- 
fare what are called machine guns play a large part, that they 
are valuable for the defence of the ironclads against torpedo 
boats, and for the defence of military positions. Well, the War 
Office have purchased a large number of machine guns. At the 
close of last year — and you remember how critical the state of 
Europe was at the close of last year — if we had been called npon 
to go to war there was no ammunition in store for the nse of the 
machine guns — none whatever. There were the machine 
guns, and no ammunition had been made to nse in them. But 
I will tell you another story, and I think this is the worst of all. 
I heard this the other day, and I heard it on the highest 
authority. One of our ironclads, the c Monarch/ a powerful 
ironclad, came into harbour the other day and required two new 
heavy guns for one of her turrets. There were no heavy guns 
to give her. What do you think they did ? They took two 
heavy guns intended for the armament of the Spithead and 
Portsmouth forts, and they put them on board the * Monarch.' 
Therefore, you see under this splendid system which expends 
over 30,000.000/. annually, in order to arm one of our iron- 
clads we have to disarm two of onr forts. Although for the 
last, thirteen years we have spent 26,000,000/. — no less than 
20,000,000/. of money — in providing, as we thought, for the 
proper accumulation of munitions of war, guns and warlike 
stores, yet. that is the condition of affairs. Now dp yon under- 
stand what the system is against which I wish to bring, if 
possible, the pressure of the English people ? 

1 will give you another illustration of the way in which the 
money goes. 1 will give you a fact which has just come out, and 
which is as yet very little known. There is a very important 
department of the War Office — the Ordnance Department — and 
that department is under the impression that they are capable 
of designing heavy powerful guns. In 1883 or 1884 they 
designed a gun called the 43-ton gun, and they called npon 
Messrs. Armstrong &■ Co. of Elswick to construct fifteen of 
these 43-ton guns. Messrs. Armstrong, who knew more about 


gun-construction than the Ordnance Department, suggested that 

the design was bad, and that it would be a bad gun. The 

Ordnance Commissioners told Messrs. Armstrong to mind their 

own business and to make the guns. The guns were made, 

and cost something like 100,000Z., and when made they were 

sent to Woolwich, and were to be sent to sea in the ships of 

war. At this moment there comes forward Captain Noble — 

who had been formerly employed by the Government, and 

who is, I believe, a director of the Armstrong Company — and 

says, 4 Do not send those guns to sea : they are bad guns and 

cannot stand the charge which you are going to place in them.' 

The Ordnance Department told Captain Noble to mind his 

own business, and the guns were sent to sea — four of them on 

board the ' Collingwood ' — a ship as to which I shall have 

something to say to you presently. And what happened? 

One of these guns burst when the second round was fired, 

.with only half a charge. The whole of the guns were recalled 

and condemned, and an expenditure of some 100,000Z. was 

found to have been wasted. Now, mind you, the Ordnance 

Department was told by the contractors that the guns were bad 

before they were constructed ; they were told by an authority 

that the guns were bad after they were constructed ; and yet 

the guns were ordered to be made, the guns were sent to sea, 

and the guns burst. Now, would you believe it — if we had to 

go to war to-morrow, four of these precious guns are being kept 

in reserve in order to be placed on board the ' Collingwood/ 

"which will be one of the ships we would have to rely on 

as part of the British fleet. Therefore the sailors of the 

* Collingwood ' will know that, though they are supposed to 

engage heavy artillery either on land or sea, they are only 

able to engage that heavy artillery with guns which it is at 

least a thousand to one will burst when fired with more than 

half a charge. You would think, and any practical person 

would think, that the officials responsible for these guns would 

have fled from the country, or at least have been dismissed from 

the public service. Not a bit of it. The officials responsible 

for these guns are occupying high official positions in the War 

Office at the present moment. And they are now engaged in 


spending large sums of money in the construction of what 
are called 110-ton guns, which are to fire 1,0001b. of powder and 
to discharge enormously heavy shot ; and the Royal Commission 
has been investigating the reports relating to these guns, which 
cost over 20,000/. each, and can only fire about 150 rounds. 
The report says, in a very mild but suggestive manner — i They 
regret to remark that the result does not appear to be equal 
to the expenditure, and that it is very unfortunate if nothing 
better can be devised.' I think you will admit I am bringing 
before you matters worthy of your attention. 

We will leave the War Office alone for a moment and turn 
to the Admiralty. It would appear that we have a very 
powerful fleet on paper ; but if you look into the facts, it is not 
so powerful. In 1 883 two large ships were launched, the c Ajax ' 
and the ' Agamemnon/ built for having great offensive power and 
great speed ; but unfortunately it was found when they were 
launched and went to sea, that if they went faster than eight 
miles an hour they would not steer, and became utterly unman- 
ageable, and therefore, for all purposes of a ship of war, they 
were seriously defective. What do you think those two ships 
cost ? They cost 800,000/. Eight hundred thousand pounds 
was spent on these two ships of war, which could, in all proba- 
bility, be sent to the bottom by any adversary of anything like 
equal size which could steer and be handy when at full speed. 
Some years later they turned out the ship * Imp&ieuse,' which 
was to be armoured in a particular way. When they came to 
send her to sea, they found that she drew 3ft. Sin. of water 
more than she was designed to draw. Observe the result. The 
armour which she would have had above water now became 
below water. She was supposed to be a powerfully protected 
ship, but in consequence of her construction she became unpro- ■ 
tected : and on the ' Imperieuse ' the Admiralty spent 500,000/. . 
Then the Admiralty went on, not in the least discouraged, to < 
construct six very large ships of what are called the Admiral J 
class. The Admiral class are ships named after the greats 
Admirals, and one of the Admiral class is the ' Collingwood.' ^ 
They are supposed to be protected ships, and supposed to be ^ 
able to engage the heavy artillery of land forts or hostile iron- - 


clacls. But this is certain, that so badly constructed is this 
class of ships, so little is the protection they have, so unscienti- 
fically is that protection applied, that for all intents and 
purposes the Admiral class of ship are unprotected, and are not 
in a condition to engage successfully heavy land artillery and 
the heavy artillery of ironclads. This class cost 4,500,000/. 
8ome are finished ; others will be finished in 1889, and it is on 
the Admiral class that the British nation have greatly to depend 
if they have to defend their coasts and their commerce. Think 
of the position of sailors on board the ' ColUngwood.' The £ Col- 
lingwood ' is one of this class. The sailors of the i Collingwood ' 
know they have a gun which is likely to burst if it is fired, 
and that they are in a ship which, so far from being a pro- 
tected ship, can be perforated at half a dozen vital points by 
the artillery of the enemy and sent to the bottom. But the 
Admiralty were not content with that, and they proceeded to 
construct two other ships — the ' Victoria ' and ' Sans Pareil ' — 
and of those ships I will only say that a person very high in 
office in the Admiralty considers those two ships to be even 
worse than the ships of the Admiral class ; and on those two 
ships they propose to spend 1,600,000Z. I have proved to you 
that a total expenditure of 7,400,000Z. has been incurred by the 
Admiralty practically for no purpose at all, and in 1885 it 
occurred to the Admiralty that they would not do badly to 
change tfce constructor who was mainly lesponsible for this 
Bplendid effort at shipbuilding. So Sir Nathaniel Barnaby, who 
was the constructor of that day, retired, and a new constructor 
Wa 8 appointed. Now I have to draw your attention to seven 
m ore ships to be constructed by the Admiralty, and designed in 
1884. They are called belted cruisers, ships of the Australia 
class— that is to say, i Australia ' is the name of one of the ships. 
Ttay are designed to have a belt of armour running round their 
ffl des five feet six inches wide, and it was intended that no less 
than eighteen inches of that armour should be above the water- 
■k® so as to protect the ship from any hostile shot. It is now 
dwcovered that when the ships have got their full quantity of 
^ on board to enable them to keep the sea, the belt of armour 
*° protect them, instead of being eighteen inches above the 


water-line will, be six inches below it. The total cost of those 
seven ships will be two millions of money, and what I have 
told you about those seven ships is fully and frankly admitted 
by the First Lord of the Admiralty. In the official document 
which he laid before the House of Commons, explanatory of the 
Navy estimates for this year, he confessed that if the ships are 
to keep the sea — that is to say, if they are to have a sufficient 
supply of coals on board — the armour will be six inches below 
water, and that they will be unprotected. This confession has 
not yet attracted notice. What is the grand result of all this ? 
The result of all this is, that in the last twelve or thirteen years 
eighteen ships have been designed by the Admiralty for cer- 
tain purposes, and on the strength of the Admiralty state- 
ments Parliament has faithfully voted the money. The total 
money which has been voted for these ships has been about 
ten millions of the money of the tax-payers, and it is now 
discovered, and officially acknowledged, that, in respect of the 
purposes for which these ships were designed and of the purpose 
for which that ten millions was spent, the whole of the money 
has been misapplied, wasted, and thrown away. Can you con- 
ceive such a state of things ? Now you understand why it 
is that the Army and Navy Estimates increase. And is it any 
wonder that a Chancellor of the Exchequer comes down to the 
House of Commons and says, after such a state of things as 
that, 'My expenditure is so high I really regret- to say I 
cannot any longer afford to repay the capital of the National 
Debt ' ? 

I have a great deal more which I am most anxious to say to you. 
You cannot imagine how strongly I feel on this point. I can 
assure you that when I was occupying the early days of this week 
in putting together notes and collecting the materials and facts 
about which I should talk to you to-night, the state of things 
as they appeared when they came to be placed on paper was so 
outrageous that at times 1 got into such a state of vexation and 
of rage tliat I was obliged to give up my work for a time and fay 
to think of something else in order to get quiet. I want, if 
possible, to make you perfectly sick of this state of things. I 
want to make you as furious and angry against this state of 


things as I am myself. I want, if possible, to bring down upon 
those who are responsible for this state of things the anger, and 
even the vengeance, of the British people. I have shown yon 
what the system is which spends so many millions of taxes 
annually on the Army and Navy, and I have shown you what 
its results are. But would you believe it ? With all this, the 
system itself has increased its own cost to the nation ; that is 
to say, that the War Office has increased its own direct cost 
since 1875 by not less than 50,000Z. a year; the non-effective 
vote of the Army has increased since 1875 600,000Z. a year. 
It now amounts to three millions a year. The cost of the 
Admiralty, the cost of the actual system, has increased since 
1875 by 25,000Z. a year. The naval pensions have increased 
by 200,000Z. a year, and the civil pensions — mark this, I beg of 
you — the civil pensions of the Admiralty have increased by 
25,000/. a year. The total amount of the non-effective vote of 
the Navy is two millions, so you have a total vote for pensions, 
naval and military and civil, of five millions a year which the 
tax-payers have to pay. 1 In other words, what I have brought 
before you is this — that the utterly rotten and monstrous 
system which is responsible for this desperate state of things has 
actually had the audacity to increase its own direct cost to the 
public and to the tax-payers by a sum of about one million a year 
since 1875. 

I will give you a curious illustration of the way in which 
this increase is brought about. You well know when First 
Lords get to the Admiralty they are always bitten by the mania 
for re-organisation. I do not know whether it is that they are 
struck by the bad state of things, or whether they are anxious 
to bring in their own friends and get rid of friends of their pre- 
decessors ; but the fact remains that there are always going on 
what are called re-organisations at the Admiralty. I will tell 
you something about that. I go back to 1854 — a long way 
back. They were moderate in those days. They had a re- 
cxrganisation then which cost the country 4,5 171. in pensions. 
In 1869 — I am getting nearer our own time — re-organisation 

1 The total amount paid by the nation for pensions of all kinds falls little 
abort of 7,000,000/. per annum. 


cost 8,400/. a year in pensions. In 1879 they had a re- 
organisation which cost the country and the taxpayer 2 1,000 J. 
a year in pensions and 52,0001. in bonuses to persons retiring. 
Would you like to know some facts about these unfortunate 
persons who retire ? I am sure there are many of you who 
serve large firms and employers for many years with no hope 
of pensions, and others serve for many years before they 
can get a pension, and those persons do not receive during 
their term of service a very high salary. Mark, under this 
re-organisation of 1 879, thirty eight clerks under forty-six years 
of ago were pensioned off. I will give some details about 
these clerks to show you what lucky fellows they are. One 
clerk had a salary of 260/. a year ; his age was thirty-one, and 
he received a pension, and probably receives it now, of 1801. a 
year and a bonus of 524Z. Another clerk received a salary of 
about the same amount; his age was thirty-seven, and he 
received, and is probably, receiving now, a pension of 2071. a 
year and a bonus of 950/. Since that time another large re- 
organisation has taken place — I think about the year 1885. 
More appointments at high salaries have been created, and it 
would seem from indications which we have had in Parliament, 
but which we have not got out in figures, that very much the 
same sort of burden has again been placed upon the tax-payers 
of the country. That shows you how this beautiful system 
increases its own cost and extends, as it were, like a cancer — 
like a malignant tumour — into the vitals of the tax-payer. But, 
gentlemen, that is not all. It may interest you to know, as men 
of business, what sort of salary the clerks at the Admiralty and 
War Office receive. They are not only entitled to very high 
pensions but to very high salaries. At the Secretary's office at 
the Admiralty, there is one clerk who receives 1,2002. ayeai, 
three are receiving over 900/., and six are receiving nearly 800/. 
I should like very much to compare these salaries with the 
salaries which are given in great firms of private enterprise in 
this country, and I should like to ask the great firms of private 
enterprise whether they give salaries of that magnitude, and 
whether they would equally think themselves bound to give 
high pensions. I take the War OflSce. The staff of the War 


Office consists of twenty-one chief clerks who receive 700Z. 
to 9001. a year salary, and forty-six senior clerks who receive 
4601. to 600Z. There are 557 clerks at the War Office, who 
cost this country nearly 150,000£. a year, and in addition to 
that the War Office pays 8,000Z. a year to copyists, who are 
taken on at tenpence an hour, and who, you may be perfectly 
certain, do most of the hard work of the office. 

We have a public official in this country who is called the 
Controller and Auditor-General, and every year he examines the 
accounts of the nation, and reports to Parliament how the money 
which Parliament has voted is spent. In his report for the year 
1885-86 he informs Parliament — but Parliament does not pay 
the smallest attention to it — that the contractors for some steam 
machinery received 38,000Z. more than they had any right to re- 
ceive by their contract, or the Admiralty had any right to pay ; 
that the contractors for shipbuilding received 50,000/. more than 
they had any right to receive by their contract, or the Admiralty 
had any right to pay — a total sum of 88,000Z. of money, public 
money — generously thrown away by the Admiralty to contractors, 
and brought before the knowledge of Parliament by the Controller 
and Auditor-General, and not paid the slightest attention to by 
Parliament. But, more than that : the Controller and Auditor- 
General says this. He tells Parliament that Messrs. Armstrong 
contracted in the year to supply certain gun-mountings to the 
Admiralty, and were to be paid when the work was completed 
on delivery. But Messrs. Armstrong did not find that quite 
convenient, so they came to the Admiralty and said, ' Would 
you kindly oblige us with an advance of 200,000Z. ? ' ' Cer- 
tainly,' said the Admiralty, c certainly ; take it/ and they gave 
it them; they gave away generously to Messrs. Armstrong 
2OO,0O0Z. of public money which they had not the smallest 
right thus to dispose of. But I am now going to tell you what 
I think is the most extraordinary story of all. I am going to 
illustrate to you the system under which the Admiralty make 
their contracts. You know they have to make large con- 
tracts for machinery and for ships, and I will tell you some- 
thing about the way in which they do it. All this is on record 
in the Blue-books; it has all come out. This is how they 



negotiate their contracts. You will remember I mentioned a 
little while ago two ships, the l Sans Pareil ' and the c Victoria.' 
Well, the Admiralty wanted engines for these ships, and they 
invited tenders for engines of 8,500 horse-power. Two of the 
contractors tendered to provide engines of 10,000 horse-power, 
or an increase of 1,500 horse-power; and they valued that 
increased 1,500 horse-power at an increased cost of 8,000/. 
That did not suit the Admiralty at all. They said, 'You 
gentlemen do yourselves an injustice ; this increased horse- 
power which you value at 8,000/. is really worth 15,000/. We 
cannot possibly allow you to rob yourselves in that way, and 
we will give you for this increased horse-power nearly double 
what you yourselves value it at.' Now that is a positive fact* 
More than that : Mr. Wallace, the principal engineer of the 
Allan Line, who is recognised as one of the most eminent 
maritime engineers in the country, gave evidence before the 
lioyal Commission that the increased horse-power which the 
contractors valued at 8,000/. and the Admiralty' at 15,000/., was 
not in reality worth more than 2,000/. And before the tenders 
were actually accepted, Messrs. Elder, the great shipbuilding 
firm, came forward and said, 4 This increased horse-power, which 
the contractors valued at 8,000/. and you at 15,000/., we will 
give you for nothing.' Messrs. Elder were told — very much like 
the other people 1 alluded to before — that they did not know 
their own business, that the Admiralty knew it best. That is 
how business is carried on in a public department of this 
most practical country, which spends twelve millions a year. I 
have not done yet with these ships. It has been proved in 
evidence before the Committee on Admiralty Contracts that 
they could have been built for 583,000/. each, including all 
machinery. But the Admiralty seemed to think that was too 
cheap ; so they accepted contracts w T hich made the ships cost, 
the one 001,000/., and the other 004,000/. — again throwing 
away nearly 10,000/. of public money. This, too, is very curious. 
The two sets of engines required for these ships cost, under the 
Admiralty arrangements, 111,500/. each. Six months after, 
the Admiralty required facsimiles of the engines, and advertised 
for tenders, and the lowest tender was 78,000/., a reduction of some 


33,OOOJ. on the tender which* the Admiralty accepted six months 
before. The Admiralty were startled ; they were afraid to take 
the lowest tender, the difference between the two amounts was 
so great ; so they took a higher tender, but the higher was only 
94,000/., or about 18,000/. less than the previous engines had 
cost — and this was in the short space of six months, and although 
it was proved that there had been no increase whatever in the 
value of labour or machinery. 

We pay a large sum of money for engineers at the dock- 
yards and at the Admiralty ; 100,000/. a year for what is called 
the scientific branch of the Admiralty; and, further, a con- 
siderable sum for schools of design and construction. But the 
committee who found out these things report that there is no 
practical engineering department at the Admiralty with busi- 
ness capacity competent to design engines, and to bring the 
most varied knowledge and most recent experience to bear on 
the construction of engines. In other words, although we 
spend an enormous sum of money upon this extensive depart- 
ment, it has been proved before a committee to be unable 
to produce what any competent firm could not do without, 
namely, a practical engineer. You are aware that a great quan- 
tity of rope is used in the Navy. Well, the Admiralty think 
they can make rope much better than the trade. It was proved 
in evidence before this same committee that the cost in manu- 
facture of rope by the Admiralty exceeds that of the trade by 
25 per cent. In this one department alone it was possible for 
the Admiralty to save 50,000/. a year. The Royal Commission 
presided over by Sir Fitzjames Stephen, which I alluded to in 
the earlier part of my remarks, makes mention of another matter 
which I should like to bring before you. We expend a large 
amount in maintaining at Portsmouth and Woolwich and Green- 
wich very extensive and perfect chemical laboratories ; yet these 
perfect and extensive establishments, with all their highly-paid 
officials, have not yet been able to devise or invent a single fuse 
which can be relied upon to burst a shell. At the bombardment 
of Alexandria a very large proportion of shells fired never burst, 
and of those now in use in the British service there is not a 
angle fuse certain to burst a shell. I have given you, I think, 



a pretty full sketch and a pretty fair idea of the nature of the 
system of expenditure of public money against which I protested 
as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to which I fell a victim. 
That is the system which, I deeply regret to say, the Prime 
Minister, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and the Secretary of 
State for War, badly advised, thought it their duty to maintain ; 
but that is the system I declined to give increased grants of 
money to as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I said I would not 
give the tax-payers' money for the maintenance of so rotten and 
profligate an expenditure of public money. You know that the 
end of it was that I had to resign. A pretty storm was raised. 
All London society, all the London clubs, and nearly all the 
metropolitan press were up in arms. They said, c How brutal, 
how foolish, how unpatriotic, to refuse to vote money to those 
admirable departments ! ' The opposition was tremendous : 
there was not a single word or action of mine that was not 
twisted, distorted, and perverted in order to give the public a 
false impression of what I was driving at. To such an extent 
was it carried that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 
House of Commons, in replying to me when I was urging 
economy, so far misrepresented my action and motive that he 
said I wanted to reduce the numbers of the Army and Navy, 
that 1 wanted to send ships to sea without guns, and to con- 
struct guns and to provide no ammunition. In other words, he 
accused me of wanting to do exactly what this monstrous system 
does which I wish to demolish and destroy. I must tell you 
one last anecdote in order to show you what I can only call 
the audacious humbug of the official ring. Tou must not think 
that I am particularly blaming the present Ministry. I do 
not blame them particularly. I remember a story of a witty 
and sarcastic Irishman who was playing a game of whist with 
a bad partner. The partner played so badly that he lost the 
rubber, and afterwards began to apologise. The Irishman 
said, ' Oh, my dear fellow, do not apologise ; I am not blaming 
you, I am only pitying you.' In the same way, I do not 
blame the present Ministers. I want to show you the sort of 
humbug which the official ring think good enough for public 
consumption. You remember what a fuss was made about 


coaling stations when I resigned, and how everybody said I 
had been unwilling to pat this commercial empire in a proper 
state of defence. It was perfectly untrue, and the authors of 
the accusation knew it was untrue ; but it was made, and ac- 
cepted very freely, and the authors of the accusation placed 
themselves in the proud position of being sterling patriots who 
were determined to place the coaling stations of the empire in 
a proper state of defence. Well, there came the conference of 
colonial delegates, and fortunately the c Standard ' newspaper 
published an account, evidently written by some one present, of 
the proceedings at the conference. The subject of the coaling 
stations came before the conference, including the question of 
the protection of King George's Sound. It is situated on one of 
the most important waterways in the world ; it is on the road 
to Melbourne ; and the British and Indian commerce that passes 
by King George's Sound to Australia is valued at 120,000,000/. 
a year. At the present time it is an important coaling station 
and harbour, and is absolutely unprotected. With a view to 
its defence, the War Office said to the colonists : If you will 
spend 27,000Z. on batteries and barracks, and if you will main- 
tain a force of artillerymen, we will give you for the defence 
of this important coaling station and harbour of King George's 
Sound — what do you think ? — a number of obsolete iron muzzle- 
loading guns. That was the idea of these sterling patriots of 
the way in which they were going to defend one of the prin- 
cipal coaling stations of this great empire. The colonists were 
extremely indignant, and one got up and said he was perfectly 
amazed at what he called the ' liberality ' of the offer, but he 
begged to assure the War Office that the colonists could do the 
business a great deal better themselves; and, much ashamed, 
the War Office withdrew the offer. So much for the defence of 
the coaling stations. 1 

I frankly confess I have not yet been able to persuade the 

1 How little has been done for the protection of the coaling stations since 
Lord Randolph Churchill's resignation may be gathered from the following 
statement contained in a leading article of the Times, January 3, 1889 : — 
'The provision of garrisons capable of utilising fortifications and guns has 
hardly been begun. Important stations could be named which would be 


Government of the enormous evils of this system of expenditure 
of public money. I cannot get the Government to believe in 
the virtue of economy or in the possibility of retrenchment. I 
will only give you one instance of the opposition I have to con- 
tend against. I suggested after I resigned that there shonld be 
a Parliamentary Committee appointed to examine into the esti- 
mates for the Army and Navy. The Government acceded with 
some hesitation and rather a wry face. Weeks passed away 
and the motion for the committee was never made. At last, 
when the motion for the committee was put down on the paper, 
it was immediately blocked, so that it could not be brought on. 
For weeks it remained blocked, and it would have remained so 
now if it had not been that one day when the Government pro- 
posed to take as the first business that night the vote for the 
decoration of Westminster Abbey for the Jubilee service, I got 
up in the House and asked the Government if they really meant 
to say that they considered the vote for the decoration of West- 
minster Abbey more important than' a Parliamentary inquiry 
into the vast, naval and military expenditure of the country. 
When the matter was put in that way they yielded, and they 
brought on the motion at a time when it could be discussed, 
which they might well have done weeks before. The motion 
passed without the smallest opposition, and I thought the com- 
mittee would be immediately nominated. Not at all. A fort- 
night elapsed— the Whitsuntide holidays came, and the night 
before the holidays I got a positive pledge from the First Lord 
of the Treasury that he would nominate the committee that 
night. The next morning judge my surprise when I found that 
the committee had not been nominated, but had been again 
postponed. This committee, which might have done great 
work, which might have gone into these things and sifted them, 
cannot now be usefully appointed this year, as the year is, I am 
afraid, too far advanced and the committee can hardly in the 
time which remains to Parliament hold more than twelve or 

absolutely in tlio power of our enemies in case of war, unless, indeed, the 
Admiralty, with its hands full of more pressing business, could find the means , 
to detach ships in time to protect them.' Lord Carnarvon has since made even. 
stronger statements about the utter defencelessness- of our coaling stations. . 


thirteen sittings. 1 All this is very discouraging, very disheart- 
ening, and I feel that in these matters I cannot do anything 
without the help of the English people. Ton may ask me 
fairly enough, you may say, c What do you propose to do ? ' I 
have placed before you facts and figures to show you that the 
British Empire spends 51,000,000Z. a year on naval and military 
establishments — 31,000,000Z. more than the German Empire, 
and 20,000,000Z. more than the French Republic. I have shown 
you that, compared with these two great Powers, we are in a 
state of utter and hopeless military and naval defencelessness 
and want of preparation. You may well say, * What are we to 
do ? ' I confess to you that I have not spent many months of 
thought on the subject without being prepared with some sort 
of plan. T have a plan ; but I think for the present I will keep 
it to myself, because I want to see whether the British people 
are satisfied with the state of things which I have shown to 
exist, and I want to see whether the British people are prepared 
to make an effort to alter it. I will say this much, however — 
that my plan is undoubtedly based upon a radical sweeping 
and even revolutionary reform of those two great departments 
of the War Office and Admiralty. Such a reform would result, 
in a year or eighteen months' time, in our being placed in a 
state of fairly perfect military and naval preparation, so far as 
the provision of stores and munitions of war and things of that 
kind are concerned ; and I think it is a plan that would admit 
of a reduction of the annual naval and military expenditure by 
nearer 4,000,000*. than 3,000,000*. of money. But this much 
is certain — you may take for granted that you will never get 
economy, however much you are in favour of it, in your public 
service, until you get into office Ministers who honestly believe 
in economy. You may be certain of this — that economy and 
efficiency are inseparable, and that free expenditure and ineffi- 
ciency are equally inseparable. For it is a most significant 
fact that all these great scandals I have placed before you have 

1 The evidence taken before this commit teo contains information of the 
most important and valuable character, but unfortunately it is still little 
known to the public. The condition of the British Army cannot be properly 
understood without the study of this evidence. 


come to light concurrently with large increase of expenditure. 
No doubt these questions of expenditure are connected with 
larger questions of finance and of revenue reform. These are 
matters I will not now touch upon. Yon know what my 
opinions are about the Budget. 1 You know how deeply I re- 
gretted what I considered the fatal policy of taking from the 
provision for the reduction of the National Debt a large sum 
of money for the purpose of concealing extravagance and of 
making a paltry and a petty remission of taxation. There 
are three cardinal principles which a Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer is bound to observe in framing his financial policy, all 
of which this year's Budget violates. They are the principles 
which regulate, or which ought to regulate, every household in 
the country ; and the first of them is — keep your expenditure 
down ; and the second of them is — pay your way. Don't get 
into debt — that is to say, pay what you have got to pay out of 
the revenue of the year. And the third of them is — lay by 
something every year. That laying-by from a national point of 
view means paying off debt —repaying our National Debt; and 
if we want to keep up our credit as a nation we must continue 
our efforts to repay the National Debt. We can now borrow 
money at 3 per cent. If we had continued our efforts to repay 
the National Debt, in a few years we would have been able to 
borrow money at 2i per cent, or 2| per cent., which means 
a large saving to the tax-payer. We now come upon the 
State for a great many things and we use State credit for a 
great many reforms. We call upon the State to purchase 
Irish land. We call upon the credit of the State to help us 
to make our local improvements or to house our artisans. 
We call upon the State for the purpose of purchasing allot- 
ments. We call upon the State for the purpose of redeeming 
tithes. We call upon the State for the purpose of still further 
assisting the education of the country. In all these matters the 
credit of the State is being put to a severer and severer strain. 
Is not this a bad moment, of all others, to choose for ceasing to 
pay off the National Debt, by which alone the credit of the 
nation is maintained ? I have no time to-night to examine 
1 Mr. Goschen's first Budget. See speeches of April 21 and 25, pp. 165-1X1, 


this more in detail, but I most earnestly hope that the British 
democracy will see the vital importance of this question, and 
will not allow the present Irish complication to drive this ques- 
tion from their minds. I want the British democracy, which is 
still young and vigorous, to start fair in money matters and 
to adhere rigorously to sound principles of financial honesty. 
Finance is the weak point of democratic government. Look 
for a moment at the Frenchman. In France you find a pure 
democracy, universal suffrage, and a republican form of govern- 
ment, and what else do you find ? Their expenditure under the 
* government of the Empire was eighty-one millions of money . In 
the sixteen years which have elapsed since the democracy 
came into existence in France their expenditure has mounted 
up to 156 millions of money. They have a floating debt of sixty 
millions added to a national debt of 782 millions, and every 
year they have a deficit to meet which they meet mostly by 
loans, and during the last five years the deficits of French 
Budgets have amounted to not less than eighteen millions of 
money. I am deeply indebted to you for the patience with which 
yoa have listened to me. I have occupied your time at an un- 
conscionable length, but you do not know the enormous import- 
ance I attach to this matter. I had earnestly hoped that the 
Tory party would have identified itself with this great question 
of economy, of retrenchment, and of radical departmental reform. 
I had hoped it; I hope it still. The Tory party has a great 
and golden opportunity. I am told all over London, in all 
kinds of quarters, ' You have made a mistake : economy is a most 
unpopular thing. The people care nothing about it ; the mass 
of the people pay no taxes.' It is in vain that I point out that 
the labour interest pays at least half the revenue and an enor- 
mous sum in local rates. Talking in London on this subject is 
like preaching in the wilderness. I am of opinion that if 
the great mass of intelligent voters in the towns do not bestir 
themselves, if they do not put pressure upon their members and 
upon Parliament, if they do not force this question to an issue, 
then we shall find ourselves travelling at racing speed along a 
downward road which, before long, must lead to a tremendous, 
irreparable, and perhaps fatal catastrophe. 



House op Commons, July 18, 1887. 

[The following speech was delivered in Committee of Supply 
during the discussion on Naval Estimates, Vote 6, which includes 
the charges for the maintenance of dockyards. Among other facts 
brought forward in this speech which have never been explained is 
the large increase in the cost of shipbuilding in the dockyards, in 
spite of the decrease in the price of material, and the slight decrease 
in the cost of labour. The immense difference between the estimates 
for building ships in dockyards and the actual cost of the vessels 
had not been denied, but no justification has ever been afforded for 
it. The statements here produced were all derived from official 
sources, and they serve to illustrate the reckless waste of money 
which goes on continually in connection with the Navy.] 

TF we look back to the year 1872-73 we shall find that 
988, 5G2/. was thought sufficient in that year for the main- 
tenance of the dockyards at home and abroad. The Admiralty 
now demand 1 ,732, GOO/. ; so that the vote has practically doubled. 
But we cannot consider Vote G without considering Vote 11, 
for new works and machinery in the dockyards, and Vote 11 in 
this year is 553,000/. Combined these two votes amount to 
2.285,000/. Then, Vote 10, for machinery and ships built by 
contract, has increased by six times since 1 872-73. The Com- 
mittee will, I think, allow that these are remarkable facts. Let 
me analyse Vote G as it stands in the present year. The 
Admiralty ask for 1,538,095/. for the work in the home yards. 
What are they going to give us in return for that expenditure ? 
They say, c We are going to spend 702, 13H. on new construc- 
tion, 322, 2G8Z. on refitting and repairing, and 106,5691. on 
manufacturers and materials,' making a total of 1,131,968/. 
This is what the country will get in direct return for its expen- 


diture of 1,538,0002. in the home yards. But a considerable 
-balance is left, and this balance is entirely absorbed by salaries 
and incidental expenses. The incidental charges amount to 
406,0002. ; that is to say, the incidental charges, which do not 
come under the heads of labour and material, amount to no 
less than 34 per cent, on the return of 1,130,0002. which the 
Admiralty proposes to give. But supposing we add to this 
expenditure Vote 11, which is for new works and machinery by 
contract. We then have to add to the incidental charges con- 
nected with the maintenance of the dockyards not less than 
304,1502. ; so that we have altogether about 700,0002. spent in 
charges incidental to the maintenance of the dockyards while 
turning out work valued at 1,100,0002. 

If I turn to the expenditure upon foreign yards I find that 
matters are still more serious. The total estimate for foreign 
yards is 195,3222. The direct or effective expenditure on new 
construction, refitting, and manufactures is put down at 87,6592. 
and the incidental charges amount to 107,6632. If I add these 
incidental charges under Vote 6 to the charges under Vote 1 1 , 
amounting to 139,0002., I get a total of 246,0002. spent upon 
foreign yards, while the return in direct service amounts only 
to 87,0002. These figures disclose a state of things for which 
a most elaborate defence is demanded from the Admiralty. 
Examining the details of Vote 6, I find that there are some 
curious facts as to the cost of building ships in dockyards. In 
1869-70 the average cost was 552. per ton ; in 1877-78 it was 
802. ; and in 1884-85, 1092. Therefore the cost of building ships 
in the dockyards has increased since 1870 by more than 50 per 
cent., and since 1878 it has increased by 292. per ton. This 
increase is not accounted for by any increase in the cost of 
labour. On unarmoured ships the cost of labour since 1878 has 
only increased 42. per ton. On armoured ships the cost has 
only increased by 62. We thus only get a mean increase of 52. 
in the cost of labour, but we get a gross increase of 292. per ton 
in the cost of building. The price of material will not account 
for the increase, for there has been an immense fall since 1874 
in the prices of nearly all structural materials. Between 1874 
and 1883, since which prices have not risen, iron plates fell in 


price from 19/. 3*. id. to 18/. 15$. ; pig lead fell 36 per cent.; j 
zinc, 43 per cent. ; mill coals, 23 per cent. ; hemp, 15 per cent. ; J 
copper, 21 per cent. ; and red pine, 50 per cent. Yet, notwith- I 
standing this fall in prices since the time when ships were built ; 
at 50/. or GO/, a ton, there has been a large increase. That J 
is a point on which, I think, the House is entitled to some explan- J 
ation from the Admiralty. I desire, on this subject, to read an t 
extract from an article in the May number of the c Westminster 
Review ' — an article of great ability. A more moderate and 
temperate and wise statement of the matter I do not think I 
have ever read. The article says : — 

* If the period 1873-74 is compared with that of 1886-87, it will 
be found that the items in the Navy Estimates that are liable to be 
affected by prices were two and three-quarter millions more in the 
latter, or cheap, than they were in the former, or dear, times. It 
would appear that there has been an increase in the latter year of 
nearly '2,000,000/. in the item of " machinery and ships built by 
private contract." If this had been the only increase — in other words, 
if the work formerly largely done in the dockyards had been trans- 
ferred to private naval constructors — there would have been little 
reason to find fault, since there has been a large consensus of opinion 
in favour of such a transfer on the part of high authorities and 
responsible statesmen. But this increase has proceeded pari passu 
with one of 500,000/. in the dockyards and naval yards, and oi 
nearly .'100,000/. in naval stores, for which there appears to be no 
adequate equivalent given. After every possible allowance hasbeeO 
made that the most indulgent and reasonable of censors can allo*^^ 
after all the difficulties that confront the Admiralty have been full^^ 
extenuated, after the necessarily more cautious and circumlocution— 
ary processes common to Governmental work have been taken int^^^ 
consideration, there still remains a formidable and apparently un 
answerable indictment lying at the door of those who are responsibl 
for our naval expenditure. The charges of wasteful, inefficient, am 
inadequate administration have been proved to the hilt, not by thi 
impersonal or irresponsible criticisms of the public press, of anonym- 
mous pamphleteers, or of foreign rivals, but by the evidence of 
Admiralty officials themselves, and by the well-considered an^S^ 
weighty deliberations of successive committees appointed to inquir^^^* 
into the subject. Of such committees there are two whose recenP^""~* 
reports are entitled to special consideration — the first being the com- 
mittee on the building and repair of ships ; the second the commits 



appointed to inquire into the Admiralty and dockyard administra- 
tion and expenditure. They reported in October 1884 that the 
Admiralty system failed to show the entire cost of labour on a dock- 
yard-built ship ; that the whole question of incidental charges was 
so obscure as to render unreliable any comparison between the cost 
of shipbuilding in public and in private yards ; that the incomplete 
and meagre character of the specifications furnished by the Admi- 
ralty to contractors not only increased the time during which ships 
were under construction, but also materially enhanced the cost of 
the work ; that the time occupied in building a ship under contract 
compared favourably with the period of construction in a dockyard, 
the whole tendency of contract work being to avoid delay ; that a 
heavy expenditure was incurred in refitting ships that have com- 
pleted their commission when it was really not required ; and that 
the Admiralty would do well to follow more largely the practice 
followed in the merchant navy of adding new ships to their fleet in 
preference to incurring a heavy expenditure on old ones. . . . They 
found that alike in the general principles of management and in the 
merest matters of detail the system was inefficient ; that in spite of 
enormous sums voted for machinery and works " the tools employed 
were of an obsolete character, which must necessarily increase the 
cost of the work " ; that large sums of money were wasted in patch- 
ing up old ships when a very little more, or perhaps even less, would 
provide entirely new vessels ; that ships were over and over again 
shipped and " torn up " when about to be placed in a new com- 
mission, although no such expenditure was required ; that there was 
a want of touch between the several heads of departments coinci- 
dently with too much centralisation of detail, which caused " delay 
and unnecessary correspondence" — that the whole administrative 
arrangements were, in fact, such as no private firm or individual 
would be likely, even if he could afford it, to tolerate for a moment. 
But more still remained behind. Two years after the committee on 
the building and repair of ships had presented their report, another 
of these interesting, but, it is to be feared, absolutely unheeded, docu- 
ments was submitted to my Lords of the Admiralty, in which the 
committee on dockyard expenditure reported that " the supervision 
of labour is unsatisfactory, and that idleness and incompetence are 
practically unchecked " ; that *' the want of co-operation between 
the superintendent and the officers acts unfavourably upon the cost 
of works in progress " ; and " we can imagine no more unsatisfactory 
state of affairs, nor one more calculated to subvert all effectual con - 
tool over the men " ; that " very serious inconvenience and waste of 
labour are experienced both in procuring articles from contractors 


and in drawing them from stores" ; that "the condition into which 
dockyard business has been gradually drifting is, and has been for 
some years, entirely underrated in the Admiralty Department, and, 
we greatly regret to add, to the very serious detriment of the 
service " ; that there is "no systematic or concurrent financial con- 
trol over dockyard expenditure " ; that " duplication of accounts, 
over-employment of clerks, preparation of voluminous, and in some 
cases useless returns, and defective audit " are " defects common to 
all yards and to all branches of work therein " ; and that as regards 
management " the system is seriously defective, and does not secure 
a fair return for the vast outlay annually absorbed therein." ' 

Now what I want to know is, what answer the Admiralty 
have to make to these charges. The Admiralty have told us 
that they cannot make any reduction in the expenditure, and 
that any demand for a reduction is intolerable and unjustifiable. 
.But what have the Admiralty done with regard to the charges 
brought against them in the two reports a summary of which I 
have just read? I now desire to lay before the House a few 
figures with a view to comparing the cost of dockyard ships and 
ships built by contract. Taking for this purpose the ' Constance ' 
and the k Carysfort,' which are recent ships, it appears that the 
i Constance,' which was built in the Chatham Dockyard, cost 
114,880/. for her hull, and 36,000/. for her engines; making a 
total 150,880/., or 90/. 9s. 3d. per ton for her hull, and 15Z. 3*. <ki 
per ton for her engines. The ' Carysfort,' built by contract at 
Glasgow, cost for her hull 98,480/. and for her engines 29,948/., 
making a total of 128, 128/., or 77/. 10s. lOd. per ton for her hull 
and 13/. os. per ton for her engines, which shows a difference of 
22,458/. in favour of Glasgow upon the whole cost, of 13/. per 
ton on the hull, and of 1/. 18$. Id. per ton on the engines. Not- 
withstanding these striking facts the ' Constance ' and the * CaryS" 
fort appear in the estimates as each costing 123,000/. ; th^ 
making it appear that contract ships and dockyard ships cO^ 
the same price. 1 hope the Admiralty will give us some e^" 
planation of this. 

I proceed to the case of larger ships — the i Camperdow ^» 
built in Portsmouth Dockyard, and the * Benbow,' built by o&^ 
tract on the Thames. The original estimate for the c Camp^^ 1 
down ' was : direct charges, GG8,947Z. ; indirect charges, 93,88^ — 


—total, 762,827/. The estimate for the < Benbow' was 665,718/., 
and dockyard work 43,831/., making a total of 709,559/. ; thus 
showing a difference of 53,000/. in favour of the contract ship. 
A change having been made in the designs as to the armament 
of the * Benbow/ an extra expenditure of 50,000/. was incurred ; 
bat even with this additional expenditure, which was not fairly 
incurred, the latest estimate for the ' Benbow ' was only 762,000/. 
as against 776,000/. for the ' Camperdown/ which is 14,000/. in 
favour of the contract ship. Then take the case of the ' Immor- 
tality,' built at Chatham Dockyard, and the ' Australia/ built by 
contract. The direct estimate of the c Immortality ' was 278,720/., 
and the indirect oharges were 45,194/., making a total of 
323,914/. In the case of the ' Australia/ the contract ship, the 
direct estimate was 245,458/., with 20,955/. for dockyard work 
and indirect charges 5,966/., making a total of 272,379/., showing 
a difference in favour of the dockyard ship of 51,335/. What 
does the Admiralty say to that ? Why in the case of three 
different classes of ships should the building cost more than in 
private dockyards? One reason is that the Admiralty never 
know their own mind. They never have the smallest idea when 
they lay down a ship how much they are going to spend 
upon it. 

I will give the Committee some examples of this. In the 
case of the ' Dreadnought/ in 1871 the Admiralty came to Parlia- 
ment and asked it to vote 269,000/., and Parliament voted that 
sum for the building of the ship. The final estimates, about 
five years afterwards, came to 445,000/. ; the actual cost was 
491,000/., or nearly double the sum which the Admiralty told 
Parliament when they induced Parliament to vote the money. 
Now take the case of the ' Temeraire/ a little later. The original 
estimate upon which Parliament consented to her being laid 
down — (recollect these are not supposed to be mere phantom 
estimates ; if you tell Parliament, ' 1 intend to spend so much on 
this ship/ and far more is spent, then Parliament is deluded and 
deceived, and all Parliamentary control becomes an absolute 
fSarce) — the original estimate of the ' Temeraire ' was 281,000/., 
the final estimates 356,000/., and the actual cost 375,000/., show- 
ing an excess of 90,000/. over the original estimate. In the case 


of the ' Inflexible ' the original estimate was 396,000/., the final 
estimate 607.000/.. and the actual cost 625,000/. ; showing an 
excess over the estimate submitted to Parliament of 229,000/. 
Take a smaller class of ships. The original estimate for the 
'Shannon' was 168,000/., the final estimate 218,000/., and the 
actual cost 250,000/., or an excess of 82,000/. Therefore, even 
in the case of a ship like the ' Shannon/ the Admiralty cannot 
estimate the cost of building her. Take, again, the * Bacchante/ 
a well-known vessel. The original estimate was 107,000/., the 
final estimate 152,000/., and the actual cost 164,000/., making 
an excess of 57,000/. What I want to know is this — what 
would become of any private firm that made such mistakes 
as these in its calculations ? What would become of such a 
firm when it found that the cost of building a ship was exactly 
double their estimate ? It w r ould go into bankruptcy. But the 
Admiralty cannot go into bankruptcy, because they have a 
deluded Parliament to draw upon ad libitum, and these mistakes, 
which would ruin both the character and credit of any private 
firm, are passed over by Parliament, and the Admiralty submit 
estimates they know to be illusory. Again, look at even the 
estimates of the amount they say they are going to spend in 
labour upon ships. The original estimate for labour upon the hull 
of the ' Jmperieuse ' was 1 17,000/., and the final cost 210,000/., 
or an excess of 63,000/. ; in the case of the * Warspite ' the figures 
were 1 17,000/. and 202,000/. ; in that of the 'Mersey/ 62,000/. 
and 98.000/. ; in that of the ' Severn/ 62,000/. and 90,000/. ; of 
the < Curlew/ 1 9,000/. and 26,000/. ; and of the < Melita/ 19,000/. 
and 2 o,000/. Therefore the Committee will see that not even 
in the case of very small ships, where one would think there wa3 
no difficulty in estimating the amount, was it in the power of 
the Admiralty to ascertain what they ought to pay. 

I want to show the Committee the utterly untrustworthy an^- 
deceptive character of the Admiralty statements contained inth^^ 
estimates submitted to Parliament. In the appendices you wil~^ 
find a certain amount of labour promised by the Admiralty tc^ 
be expended on certain classes of ships, some to be advanced anc^S 
others to be completed. But those statements are not worth th^^ 
paper they are written on. All which is put in the appendices*"* 


escapes the control of the Auditor-General altogether. 1 The 
Committee will be surprised to hear this. We have a Committee 
on Public Accounts, but the only check on our Dockyard and 
Arsenal expenditure is a return called the expense accounts, 
which is never issued for the Navy until two years, and the Army 
three years, after the expenditure. That is the only possible check 
on the departments and the only means of finding out how the 
departments spend the money. Is not that a disgraceful state 
of things for the country ? I am enabled to furnish some de- 
tails of the manufacturing establishments, which show the utter 
absence of Parliamentary control. Take the case of the c Dread- 
nought.' She was commenced in 1870. Building was suspended 
for two years, and begun again in 1872, and the Admiralty 
told Parliament that they intended to spend in that year for 
labour and material upon her 27,000/. As a matter of fact, what 
they did spend was only 11,000/. Having got Parliament to 
vote them money to advance the * Dreadnought ' by one-tenth 
of her total cost, they only advanced her by one-sixtieth. In 
1878 they told Parliament that they were going to spend 
12,000/. in labour only ; as a matter of fact, they spent 26,000/. 
In 1873 the Admiralty informed Parliament they intended to 
spend 28,000/. in labour upon the c T6m6raire ' — that is to say, 
to advance her by one-fifth of her total cost. As a matter of 
fact, they only spent 5,618/., not even a fraction of her total 
cost. In 1874 they told Parliament they intended to spend 
36,OOOZ. on the ' T6m6raire ; ' they only spent 24,000/. In the 
case of the 'Shannon' in 1873, the estimate for labour was 
15,000/., the actual expenditure only 6,000/. In 1874 the 
figures were 27,000/. and 42,000/.; in 1875, 26,000/. and 35,000/.; 
and in 1876, 11,000/. and 16,000/. In 1877, apparently, the 
Admiralty did not intend to spend any money upon the ' Shan- 
non,' but they spent 5,500/. upon her. This shows the utter 
Uselessness of the Admiralty telling Parliament, ' We will 
^vance a ship so much.' The money is given to them and 
then it is spent for other purposes — money that is voted for 
^pairs is spent upon building, and vice versd. It may be right ; 

1 The Admiralty, in 1888, altered their form of estimates in order to meet 
****• criticism. 

VOL. n. P 


but I contend that, unless we are going to make the whole thing 
like the commonest farce, the estimates submitted to Parliament 
should be adhered to, and Parliament should know that the 
money it has voted for a certain purpose will be devoted to that 
purpose and not spent as the Admiralty choose. 

I pass to another point. I wish the Committee to see how 
utterly useless is our alleged Parliamentary control. Why is 
it that in the case of the 3,000,000/. or 4,000,000/. we spend 
under Vote 6, or the 3,000,000/. or 4,000,000/. we spend under 
Votes 11, 12, and 13 for the Army, we have absolutely no audit. 
no Parliamentary control or knowledge, until three or four years 
after the money has been spent ? The Committee, perhaps, has 
no idea of that, but it is so, and that is exactly what must be 
put a stop to. Let me refer to the question of incidental 
charges. I want to compare them with the labour charged 
direct to ships and other effective services. In 1880 the indirect 
charges for the home dockyards were 662,000/., and the direct 
charges for labour in connection with ships were 884,000/. — that 
is to say, the indirect charges amount to 70 per cent, of the 
direct charges. I do not believe any country in the world can 
show such bloated charges as those. The labour charges have 
gone up from 804,000/. in 1880 to 1,152,000/. in 1885— an 
increase of 288,000/. What I want to ask the First Lord of the 
Admiralty is this. In his memorandum he contrived to hint, if 
he did not actually state, that he looked forward to a large 
reduction in the expenditure upon shipbuilding, because many 
contracts would fall in. Does the Admiralty intend to make a 
corresponding reduction in the indirect charges ? Let us analyse 
some of those charges. I must tell the Committee that it is 
quite impossible to find the total cost of any dockyard either 
at home or abroad. I do not believe it is possible for any mem- 
ber of the Admiralty, or for the cleverest clerk in the Admiralty, 
to find out the total cost of any dockyard within a good many 
thousands of pounds. At Portsmouth the direct vote for labour 
was 374,000/., while the incidental charges for the establishment 
amounted to 260,000/., or 70 per cent. ; at Devonport the direct 
vote for labour was 277,000/. ; the incidental charges, 182,000/., 
or 65 per cent.; Chatham — direct vote, 272,000/.; incideatal 


», 164,000Z., or 59 per cent.; Sheerness — direct vote, 
)l. ; incidental charges, 75,000Z., or 78 per cent. ; Pern- 
—direct vote, 133,000Z. ; incidental charges, 56,500Z., or 

cent. ; Haulbowline, 171Z. ; incidental charges, 4,500Z., or 

per cent. The Admiralty have expended altogether 
)0l. in the extension of Haulbowline, and the expenditure 
>t ceased. I have no hesitation in saying that the whole 
b half-million has been absolute and total waste, and that 
lad taken that money and expended it in real public works 
land we would have done fifty times more good than we 
:ely to do as regards the naval expenditure at this yard. 
G. Hamilton shook his head in dissent.) I am not the 
>it deterred by the dissent of the First Lord from that 
:ent; I assert that the Haulbowline dockyard is a fair 
ce of profligate waste, and that the expenditure upon it 
to be stopped. The First Lord takes up this position. 
jrs : ( We can make no economy ; we must keep all our 
iiture going ; it is all justifiable ; and though the taxes are 
nd people crying out, every penny of these thirteen millions 
ist have for the Navy ; ' and yet here we find going on at 
owline expenditure which is the most utter waste. As re- 
the foreign yards, in the first place, the Admiralty do not 
te the incidental charges from the labour in detail. For 
eason or other they conceal that, and we can only get them 
total. They give them, however, in connection with Hong 

and Malta. Now, the labour vote at Hong Kong was 
M., while the incidental charges were 29,000Z., or 300 per 

at Malta the labour vote was 48,000Z. and the incidental 
ie 63,000Z., or 133 per cent. If we take all the foreign 
—Antigua, Bermuda, Cape of Good Hope, Esquimalt, 
tar, Halifax, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Malta, Sierra Leone, 
f, and Trincomalee — we find a total vote of 80,000Z., for 
, with incidental charges amounting to 213,000Z., or 266 
it. Now, make any allowance you like as to keeping up 
l expenditure, and still I defy any one to say that that scale 
dental charges is not grossly extravagant. There is one 
cable feature in connection with establishment charges in 
me yards, and that is the item of salaries. I particularly 

p 2 


invite the First Lord to explain how it is that the salaries of 
superintendents, officers, and clerks, which were 101,0007. in 
1878-9, rose to 174,0007. in 1885-6— an increase of 73,000/. ; 
and if he pleads that he cannot answer for those years, I will put 
another question — namely, how is it that the salaries of super- 
intendents, officers, and clerks have increased from 140,000/. 
in 1881-5 to 172,000/. in 1887-8? And it is very curious 
that whereas our 140,000/. worth of salaries superintended 
1,200,000/. worth of wages to labour, we now require 172,000/. 
in salaries to superintend 1 ,300,000/. of wages — i.e. an increase 
of 100,000/. in wages to labour requires an increase of 30,000/. 
a year to superintendents, officers, and clerks. That is a remark- 
able state of things, and one that the First Lord will find diffi- 
culty in explaining satisfactorily. 

Let me take the Committee to Sheerness Dockyard. An 
enormous sum of money has been expended on Chatham and 
Portsmouth. In their extension there has been expended 
4,245,000/., and, clearly, it was intended by the Admiralty that 
when these extensions were completed Sheerness would be shut 
up. But is Sheerness, which shows 78 per cent, for incidental 
charges, going to be shut up ? Not for a moment. On Vote 
1 1 there is taken for new works at Sheerness 8,0007., for repairs 
4,735/., for new machinery 738/., and for new machinery by con- 
tract 2,200/. — in all, 15,673/. for new works and machinery this 
year, although we have spent an enormous sum on Chatham 
and Portsmouth on the understanding that Sheerness was to be 
closed. The total cost of Sheerness this year with these new 
works amounts to 100,000/., and it would be as easy for the Ad- 
miralty to save that 100,000/. to-morrow as for the First Lord of 
the Admiralty to rise in his place. And this is the First Lord 
(pointing to Lord G. Hamilton) who said he could not mak e 
one single economy in the Navy Estimates! I assert, with-* 
out the smallest fear of contradiction, that you might by me** 
application for three weeks reduce the gross charge for me*' 
dental expenses by at least 100,000/., and, by careful and pr^" 
longed watching, by more. I must point out that by t&Z0 
proposal to shut up Haulbowline and Sheerness you might n^* 
only save a great deal of money, but you might do a very gpc^ 


thing by getting rid of the buildings and land. Now, let me 
aak the First Lord to explain some of these sources of waste. I 
learn that during 1885-6 in the dockyards it was thought 
necessary to expend 14,00(M. on cable chains and moorings, 
22,934£. for hawsers and rope for guys, and 2,477?. for yard 
boats. I am told by those who know that this is a very large 
sum of money. I have been told that there are eight or nine 
lighters which are very rarely used, two men and a boy being 
kept on each lighter for the purpose of taking care of it. That 
is the kind of thing which goes on under the head of these 
incidental charges, and they are matters which the Admiralty 
cannot possibly defend. The First Lord of the Admiralty will 
perhaps explain another matter connected with the incidental 
charges. We maintain a laboratory at Greenwich costing 1,000Z. 
a year, but for some reason the Admiralty thought it necessary to 
erect another laboratory of an expensive character at Portsmouth, 
costing 2,350J., and maintained at a cost of 750?. a year. That 
is the way the money goes. Have the Admiralty ever con- 
sidered the number of depdts on the South American station 
and the North American station comparatively ? Is the 
Admiralty aware that for the last few years all the depots on 
the South American station have been done away with, and that 
the vessels on this station draw stores direct from England ? 
For the North American station, apparently, a different principle 
prevails. The Admiralty maintain at a very considerable cost 
three depdts on that station — Halifax, Bermuda, and Jamaica. 
I think the Admiralty will hardly deny that one depdt for the 
North American station would be ample, and we might save 
money on the others. These are economies which might be 
made if you were bent upon economy. I turn to another subject. 
An enormous amount of money is spent on chaplains and 
schools in the dockyards. A most ridiculous amount is spent 
altogether on education in the Navy — 2,400Z. is spent every year 
for chaplains at Chatham, and 2,980Z. every year for schools. I 
can conceive that at the dockyards of Portsmouth, Chatham, 
"evonport, and elsewhere there must be a large surplus of 
clergymen who would discharge the religious duties required at 
a Very much lower figure ; and as far as the schools are concerned, 


there must be a large number of elementary schools to which 
the dockyard children might go. But some of the dockyard 
schools are for higher education — for engineers and students— 
and this raises an important question. The system of education 
pursued in the Navy is a remarkable one. An enormous sum 
of money is spent on the education of shipwrights and others 
who may rise from the ranks in the dockyards up to high 
positions in the departments. It is an extremely extravagant 
method. We maintain for that purpose dockyard schools and 
Greenwich College, which receives 5,500/. a year. We make 
all kinds of allowances to instructors for apprentices, amounting 
to 5,000/. ; and having educated several hundred apprentices a 
year in order to get a very few good, we leave them at perfect 
liberty to seek service in foreign countries or in private yards 
It happens, therefore, that after the country has spent a large 
sum of money in educating these students they instantly leave 
us and go either to the enemy or to private enterprise. Is that 
not an absurd and extravagant system ? If any one of us went 
to Sir William Armstrong's or to Whitworth's for scientific 
education we should have to pay a large premium. This is 
often a source of profit to these firms ; but the Navy pursue 
the reverse method : it pays persons in order to teach them 
the science of shipbuilding. That is a system which is suscep- 
tible of large reform. The whole method of education in the 
Navy must be reconsidered, and if we do that we must save i 
large sum of money. That, however, is perhaps a larger ques- 
tion than may properly be brought in to be examined on this 
vote. But, speaking generally, besides Greenwich College we 
maintain the ' Britannia* at 22,000/. a year, j>/m* 15,000?. contri- 
bution ; we maintain the c Marlborough ' and the school at Devon- 
port for engineer students at a cost of 13,393/. and 3,000/. con- 
tribution. The whole question of Navy education, I think, 
ought to be carefully examined by the Admiralty, and is worthy 
of being examined by the House. 

I have one more remark to make on this dockyard vote, and 
it is this : 1 want the explanation of the Admiralty as to the 
system of spending money on ships that have been completed. 
I have found in the estimates some curious instances in regird 


to sums spent on repairs up to March 1886. I find, for instance, 
that in 1881-2 the ' Constance ' was built at a cost of 123,000?., 
and up to March 1886 you had spent 8,000?. on her. In 
1879-80 the 'Carysfort' was built at a cost of 123,000*., and 
12,5562. was spent on her. In 1878-9 the 'Comus' was built 
at a cost of 123,0002., the sum of 47,595?. being spent on her 
to keep her going. What is the meaning of such sums being 
•spent on repairs ? The ' Shah,' built in 1876-7, cost originally 
249,9841., and 40,000?. has been spent on repairs connected 
with a ship which you are not going to employ. The ' Leander,' 
built in 1885-6, was completed for 191,000?., but in the same 
year the Admiralty spent 8,947?. on her. What is the reason ? 
The ship is delivered fully completed, but it is found necessary, 
either with regard to ships built by contract or ships built in 
the dockyards, to be continually spending vast sums of money 
on those ships. I was told by a military gentleman from 
Malta that the * Carysfort ' was redocked and refitted at immense 
cost, although my informant said that the captain had declared 
that she did not require a penny to be spent upon her. Take 
some other ships, and see what was spent up to March 31, 
1886. The ' Agincourt '—first cost 483,000?., and there has 
been spent on her for repairs 202,000?. The c Northumberland ' 
— first cost 490,000?. ; 201,000Z. spent in repairs — ships, I believe, 
perfectly useless for fighting purposes. The c Penelope ' — another 
useless ship — first cost 196,000?. ; 94,000?. has been spent on 
repairs. The < Iron Duke '—first cost 280,000?. ; 186,000?. spent 
on repairs. The ' Swif&ure '—first cost 267,000?. ; 102,000?. 
spent on repairs ; and so on with the smaller ships. These 
are the matters conuected with this vote which I want the Com- 
mittee to consider. Let me briefly summarise the points — the 
form in which the estimates are brought before Parliament is 
not only perfectly inconvenient for Parliament to get any know- 
ledge as to what they are spending, but deliberately calculated 
and contrived to keep out the Controller and Auditor-General ; 
the number of dockyards at home and abroad add the enormous 
incidental charges connected with them ; the utter unreliability 
of the estimates as regards ships, whether as regards the final 
cost or the final estimate as compared with the original ; the 


useless amount spent on repairs and alterations ; the amount of 
money which is spent in the maintenance of foreign yards 
which might be well closed — those are the matters which have 
been brought forward as bearing out in every word the condem- 
nation, the strong and deliberate condemnation, passed upon the 
system pursued by the Admiralty, by the two Committees which 
I quoted at the beginning of my speech. I trust the First Lord 
of the Admiralty will not put these remarks, thoroughly authenti- 
cated and well-founded, aside by merely trusting to his official 
majority. If lie does not attach importance to them, the country- 
does. The country will not go on throwing millions of money into 
the hands of the First Lord of the Admiralty to have them ex- 
pended in the way in which the official documents show they are 
expended. Let him show what he has done to produce improve- 
ment in those branches of the service ; or if he does not, I do 
earnestly implore the Committee to refuse absolutely to proceed 
with this vote until the Admiralty have furnished the most 
ample and complete information. 


Whitby, September 23, 1887. 

. the close of the session of 1887 Lord Randolph Churchill 
3d a meeting at Whitby, and reviewed the work which had 
one. He expressed strong approval of most of the measures 
Government, but there is space here only for that portion of 
ech which dealt with the question of retrenchment and honest 

ORE concluding my review of last session I should like 

mention one feature — a source of especial gratification 
;elf. I mean the strong disposition which was manifested 
* part of Parliament to initiate and sustain a vigorous 
ign against the extravagant expenditure of public money, 
rong disposition which I noticed in the House of Commons 
y on with will, vigour, and resolution that great work — 
3atest, I think, of all the works of the present day — the 
>f economy and retrenchment, of radical retrenchment and 

in our public service, will, I hope, continue. I have 

1 that disposition since the beginning of the session in all 
ps of the House. I have even detected it in Government 

For years you have had talk about economy ; for years 
,ve had lamentations over the growth of public expendi- 
for years you have had promises of retrenchment and 
; but not until now have you been treated to performance, 
ot say that much marked progress has yet been made ; 
rk has only just begun ; but I would look for great results 
sssion. You must recollect that this edifice of national 
igance has been the result of years of neglect. It cannot 
3wn down by mere shouting or in a moment. It must 
aolished bit by bit and taken down stone by stone ; and 


a new building must be erected in its place. All this will be 
undoubtedly a work of time, and I would Dot look for marked 
results before another year has gone by. I will not now enter 
into this question in detail. I will only say that the work of 
public economy has been well begun, and that, as far as I can 
judge, the labourers are many for the work, and that they come 
from all parties in the State. I permit myself on this subject 
at the present time two observations only. In the first place, I 
would observe that the action which I took with regard to this 
question last December — action which at the time was freely 
criticised and severely condemned in all quarters — if looked at 
now and judged now solely from the point of view of economy, 
and within the limits of the question of economy, excluding 
disturbing elements, has, it must be admitted by all reasonable 
persons, been justified, and more than justified, not only with re- 
gard to the grounds upon which it was based, but with regard 
to the results, general and particular, which have followed, and 
are still following, from that action. But to that remark, 
though I have made it, I do not attach much importance, 
because, whether people admit it or do not admit it, nobody 
in the world will ever persuade me that I was in error on that 
point. But my second observation is, I think, of more import- 
ance. People talk a great deal about hard times. They talk a 
great deal about the depression of trade, commerce, and agri- 
culture. They talk a great deal about the intolerable pressure of 
high taxation. All that they say is probably very true, and you 
have a great many remedies preached to you for this most diffi- 
cult and disturbing state of things. There are some who preach 
to you of Protect ion. There are others who preach to you 
of a kind of modified Protection which they call Fair Trade. 
There are others who preach to you bimetallism, and who say 
thai, if the State were to fix by law the relative value of silver 
and gold prices would rise. I will not discuss those remedies at 
the present moment, because to every one of them there is a 
fatal objection, and that is, that any of those remedies, if proposed) 
would excite the most ferocious party controversy and the most 
protracted party opposition, and consequently little progress 
would be made with them in Parliament and little result wonld 


follow for a very long space of time, even if they were adopted'. 
That is my objection to any of those remedies. But of this I 
am perfectly certain, that if I had my way, and if I could see 
great departments of the State filled by men who had thoroughly 
at heart and who thoroughly believed in and were convinced of 
a possibility of economy, I could make more millions for the 
service of the State, either for remission of taxation or for meet- 
ing legitimate expenditure, out of economy, retrenchment, and 
departmental reform than any Protectionist, Fair Trader, Bi- 
metallism or any other metallist could extract, no matter how 
ingenious might be the remedy which he might persuade Parlia- 
ment to adopt ; and more than that : I would guarantee on the 
most recognised and widely accepted principles of finance that 
you would have 50 per cent, more efficiency in your public 
services than you have at the present moment. The advan- 
tages of my method are obvious, because not only would it, 
if adopted by Government and Parliament, bring prompt and 
speedy relief to an overtaxed and overburdened nation, but it 
would excite no party contention. On the contrary, it would 
excite the co-operation, or at any rate the friendly rivalry, of all 
parties in the State. 

What is the general character of the public services of this 
country at the present moment ? The great feature and cha- 
racteristic of it is this, and it is one Of which you may well be 
proud — that we employ three men to do the work of one, and 
we pay each of the three men at least one-third higher salary 
than we need pay to one man who would do the work which 
the three pretend to do. We retire men prematurely on high 
pensions at a time when they are perfectly capable of doing 
good service to the State. That is the general feature and 
characteristic of the public service of Great Britain, supposed 
to be the most practical country in the world. I particularly 
allude to the Pension List, because the Pension List of this 
country has reached proportions which make it positively no- 
thing less than a national scandal. The Pension List of this 
country is a list amounting to, I believe, over six millions of 
money a year ; six millions of money in mere pensions ; 3d. in 
the income tax — imagine what that is ! With those six millions, 


in about forty years we might pay off the whole of the National 
Debt, which costs us twenty-six millions a year at the present 
moment. This gives an idea of the pressure of the Pension 
List upon the people, and of what vital importance it is that 
the Pension List should be cut down and kept down. But 
to go back to our public services. If the State purchases 
articles for its own use by contract, it generally pays from 20 
to 10 per cent, more than a private individual would do. If 
the State thinks it will manufacture the articles it wants by 
itself, the cost for manufacturing is about double what the 
private manufacturer would incur. These are no mere asser- 
tions — they have been proved over and over again by speeches, 
committees, and inquiries of all sorts and kinds — they are un- 
deniable facts ; and with all this ludicrous and shameful ex- 
travagance in public expenditure, it is admitted by all, at the 
same time, that we have not real efficiency in our public 
services and our public departments. I do not know whether 
you agree with me, but I am strongly of opinion that the time 
for this state of things has gone by. I perceive that this 
democratic Parliament does not intend to tolerate this state 
of tilings any more. Nothing ever gave me greater satisfaction 
and delight, nothing gave me greater amusement, than to notice 
during the course of last session the impatience and utter in- 
credulity with which members of Parliament received the usual 
stereotyped official answers with regard to questions of expen- 
diture and administration. It was obvious that the House of 
Commons were not going to content themselves with the an- 
swers, the stereotyped answers, which former Parliaments had 
been content with. Former Parliaments used to regard those 
answers as if they were gospel. But the present democratic 
Parliament has a tendency to regard them as fictions founded 
upon fact ; and a most useful effect is being produced on the 
public departments. The permanent officials are, I believe, 
learning a very useful lesson that they are not gifted with 
infallibility, and that they are not to continue to regard the 
1 louse of Commons with that air of superiority with which they 
have been accustomed to regard that House as a body, and 
members of Parliament as individuals. They are learning that 



they are not masters of the House of Commons — that as servants 
of the Crown, and indirectly the servants of the House of Com- 
mons, their duty is to carry out the policy of the House of 
Commons, and that the House of Commons is not disposed to 
pot up with any of the shifts and excuses for maladministra- 
tion which contented former Parliaments. I think that all 
this is extremely useful, and is sure to produce a harvest of 
benefit and good to the nation. Nothing, certainly, has given 
me greater pleasure than the effect which the labours of the last 
session have produced upon the interests of economy, retrench- 
ment, and departmental reform ; and no one looks forward with 
greater hope and confidence to the labours of this Parliament 
in future sessions than I do. 




[The following address was devoted to a criticism of a speech 
made by Mr. Gladstone the previous evening at Nottingham. The 
great question of the liquor traffic was discussed in a spirit which 
somewhat surprised some members of the Conservative party ; but 
Lord Randolph's ideas found partial expression in certain clauses of 
the Local Government Act of 1888, although these clauses were, 
from a variety of causes, withdrawn. The declaration in favour 
of judicious legislation for the encouragement of temperance was 
emphatically repeated at Paddington in November 1888.] 

J OWN that when I first received an invitation, some three 
or four years ago, to visit the North of England for political 
purposes, 1 never anticipated in those days that if I did come I 
should have addressed other than a purely Tory gathering. But 
times and parties have changed ; and it is with inexpreesifc>\fc 
satisfaction that, in these days of difficulty and danger, I fi^ 
myself on this occasion, on a visit to the North of Engk**^ 
addressing a meeting which represents all parties in the St^^^" 
You are aware that there has been within the last week ° r 
so a very brisk political debate going on in the country ; aliL-^ 06 ^ 
as brisk a debate as you could have in the House of Comm ^> BB 
itself. The only difference between this debate and debat^^* m 
the House of Commons appears to me to be that, instead- ° 
members answering each other from their places in the Sen^^^> 
they answer each other from town to town in the United Ki^^S' 

dom. The main feature of that debate, the most interesting ** 

cannot say the most instructive — has been the speeches wki c ^ 
have been delivered yesterday and the day before yesterday ty 
the leader of the Opposition. Those were speeches which it*" 
been greatly looked forward to ; and 1 fancy that those speeds 


have disappointed alike friends and foes. They were speeches 
of prodigious length and compass, and therefore it will not be 
within my power, consistently with the demands which I might 
legitimately make upon your indulgence, to go at length over 
all the ground covered by those speeches. But Mr. Gladstone 
brought before the country what purported to be the domestic 
programme of his own personal following. I cannot call it the 
Liberal party, because the Liberal party has ceased to exist. 
This programme, excluding Ireland, which Mr. Gladstone put 
before the country is undoubtedly a programme of interest, ) 
which we shall do well to-night to examine so as to find out i 
whether what Mr. Gladstone promises to the people is good, 
and whether, if it be good, we could not quite as well obtain 
it through the Unionist party, and possibly better from the 
Unionist party than from Mr. Gladstone. He mentioned various 
subjects of interest, and I will take them in the order in which/ 
they came. He placed in the first position the question of Par- 
liamentary registration, and he made a very curious remark 
on that subject. He declared that it was a subject of first- 
class importance — and there I do not disagree with him ; but 
he went on to say, 4 We want an enfranchised nation to work 
with.' That is all very well ; but I thought, and I suspect a 
good many of you thought, that when Mr. Gladstone dealt with 
Parliamentary reform about two years ago he dealt with that 
reform completely, and he told you that the result of his Bill 
would be that you would have an enfranchised nation to work 
with. But now it would appear that his work has been, like 
former work, badly done — that it has been incomplete and de- 
fective. There are two points involved in this question. There 
is the principle, which is conveniently expressed by the formula 
of * one man one vote.' That is one principle which is involved 
in the matter of Parliamentary registration. The other is the 
machinery of registration. Now, on the question of one man 
one vote, gentlemen, I have this to say. I do not think it a ques- 
tion of very great importance ; it is not a matter which involves 
any great or vital principles. I cannot imagine that any very 
serious opposition would be excited if ' one man one vote ' was 
to be applied strictly to the composition of the Parliamentary 


register and to the exercise of the Parliamentary franchise. 
You have the one man one vote principle strictly applied to 
many of the great boroughs : in Manchester, in Liverpool, in 
Birmingham, in Glasgow, in Sheffield, in Bradford, in London, and 
several other places, no man, although he may own property in all 
the divisions in the town, can record his vote in more than one. 
Take Newcastle and Gateshead. There are two separate towns 
— not two divisions of a borough — and a man who owns property 
in Newcastle and Gateshead may vote in both places, although 
if they were one town he would only have one vote. That is 
•an anomaly ; it is a distinction which rests upon no solid differ- 
ence. I do not believe that what is known as the property vote, 
which would be more or less modified if one man one vote 
was strictly applied — I do not believe that the property vote 
is indispensable to the protection of the rights of property. We 
have preferred, and no body of men more so than the Tory 
party, to repose the defence of the rights of property upon the 
good sense and intelligence of the whole community ; and if the 
good sense and the intelligence of the whole community are not 
adequate to the proper treatment of and proper respect for the 
rights of property, then no special privileges of franchise are 
likely to defend those rights. Therefore I have no very strong 
opinion about the property vote. I expect that at a general 
election the exercise of the property vote amounts numerically 
to not more than some thirty thousand in a recorded vote of 
four millions and a half. Obviously the principle applies of de 
minimi* non curat lex, though, undoubtedly, at by-elections 
the property vote might be of some importance. Still, at a 
general election the change which would be affected by the 
application of the one man one vote principle is not of any vital 
import to the political stability of the community. So far 
as I am concerned, if the question of one man one vote was 
raised in Parliament I should not think it my duty to vote 
against the application of that principle. The question of 
machinery is of very different and far greater importance. We 
have now, for the purpose of Parliamentary registration, when 
our electoral roll numbers over five million persons, exactly 
the same machinery for registering the electors as we had when 



the electoral roll amounted to only about half a million. On 
the face of it, that can hardly be a good arrangement. What 
are the three factors in Parliamentary registration? There 
is, in the first place, the overseer, who is an official changed 
annually, and unremunerated. There is, in the second place, 
the revising barrister — these are the two official parties con- 
cerned in registration; and then you have an authority — a 
very powerful one, but not official — and that is, the political 
machinery and the political organisation of the two rival parties 
in the State. I am not impressed with the last of these 
authorities as a valuable factor in Parliamentary registration ; 
because, in the first place, it is an authority which is extremely 
coBtly, which is maintained with difficulty ; and, in the second 
place, I suspect that the main object of a political party is 
not so much to make up a good and fair register of elec- 
tors, as to keep off persons who ought to be on, and to keep 
°a people who ought to be off ; so that any improvement of 
y*e official machinery which should diminish the exertions of 
^Ae two rival political parties in respect to registration would, 
* think, be a great national benefit. I come to the official 
e fexnent, and have nothing to say against the revising barrister. 
* *>^lieve the work of the revising barrister is well done. But 
***«n I come to the overseer, there I have a great deal of fault to 
1111 *3 ; and I only wish to say now on this point that I believe that 
th^ local official concerned with Parliamentary registration should 
"* «* paid professional officer occupied with no other duty than 
™^"t: of continually looking after the composition and the proper 
m£ ^ioitenance of the electoral roll. I believe that the registration 
ot ^Parliamentary voters, at any rate in its origin, is strictly a 
W( **"i of local concern, and that it ought to be made part of the 
dirfc J es w hi Cn devolve upon local authorities. 

I come to the question of the Reform of the Land Laws. 
" J*at did Mr. Gladstone say about that ? He said we want to 
s^^^p away bodily the system of landed entail. Yes, but what 
doe>^ he mean by that ? Does he mean that he will absolutely 
P K> Kibit any settlement of any sort or kind of landed estate ? 
Ik^ause, if he means that, I believe that he is going far beyond 
w **^t the general sense of the community would acquiesce in. 
vol. ii. q 


There is nothing more valued in this country than the large 
freedom which we possess of testamentary bequest, and any 
undue or despotic curtailment of the freedom of testamentary 
bequest would be greatly resented in this country. Therefore, 
if Mr. Gladstone, in sweeping away bodily the system of landed 
entail, means to prohibit all settlement of any sort or kind of 
land, then I say I am entirely opposed to so large and so radical 
an innovation. But, on the other hand, if he means merely 
to confine his reform to the abolition of the entail of landed 
estate upon lives unborn, then I agree with him, and I imagine 
that a majority of both parties in the House of Commons 
would agree with him, that the power, possessed by individuals, 
of entailing landed estates upon unborn lives has been a great 
barrier, a great dyke, a great dam, which has kept back from 
the land the new capital, new energy, new idens which are re- 
quired for its proper development. And I would point out that 
you may pass any laws you like to facilitate the transfer of land ; 
you may set up the most elaborate machinery for registration of 
title ; but until you deal with this question of entail on unborn 
lives you will not have made any real reform of the land laws of 
this country. The landed interest of England is going through a 
time of trial. I believe it is vital to the landed interest to shake 
itself free from that cramping fetter and chain of entail upoD 
unborn lives. 1 believe an enormous amount of vitality would 
be infused into the landed interest if a short bill — it might be a 
bill of one clause only -were passed through Parliament, pro- 
viding that from and after a certain date all entail of landed 
♦ states upon unborn lives should be illegal, null, and void. Mr. 
Gladstone, however, gives no indication of the extent to which 
he would go in this matter, and it is a matter on which we 
cannot afford to remain in the dark. Mr. Gladstone alluded to 
the agricultural interest, and he did not say much of comfort. 
All he said was that his own Agricultural Holdings Act, which 
he passed in 188o, was more beneficial than the one passed 
by Lord Beaconsfield in l87o. Lord Beaconsfields Act had, no 
doubt, one defect. It allowed parties affected to contract them- 
selves out of the scope of the Act ; and, as far as I know, all 
Mr. Gladstone's Act of 1883 did was to remedy that defect. 


But, curiously enough, Mr. Gladstone made precisely the same 
mistake when dealing with another subject of importance to 
the working classes of this country. I allude to the Em- 
ployers' Liability Act. He passed in 1880 a law, which, I 
believe, was wisely drawn and well conceived, to regulate the 
liability of employers towards their workmen in consequence of 
accidents happening to the workmen. But what was the fault 
of that Act ? It was that parties were allowed to contract them- 
selves out of the Act. At that time I and several other Con- 
servatives strove very hard to make that Act of compulsory ap- 
plication. It is not by any means a Eadical idea to make that 
Act compulsory. One of the most respected members on the 
Conservative side of the House — I regret to say, he died some 
years ago— Mr. Knowles, then member for Wigan, and a very 
large employer of labour, led a section of the Conservative party, 
of which I was one, in a great effort to make that Act compulsory, 
and, in Mr. Knowles's absence one day, at his request I moved an 
amendment to that Act providing that it should be compulsory, 
and also providing a co-operative system of insurance among the 
employers, with a view to guard against ruinous liability in 
consequence of accidents. But Mr. Gladstone's Government 
resisted, and resisted successfully. The consequence has been 
that you have had efforts in Parliament to extend the scope 
t of the Employers' Liability Act. Therefore, Mr. Gladstone 
is open to the same reproach in dealing with the liability 
of employers as he brings against Lord Beaconsfield in dealing 
with the relation of farmers and landlords. I only wish on 
*Ai8 subject to make this remark — that I think the State 
°ttght to be most cautious, most reluctant, to interfere with 
Matters of contract between man and man. But when it does 
80 interfere, in obedience to a great popular demand, I think 
'*« dealings should be thorough, and that the form of contract 
^faich it lays down should be universal and of compulsory appli- 

Mr. Gladstone made some remarks about a subject which 
^^erests the masses of the people — I mean the question of Pro- 
**otiion — and he denounced in turn all who advocated any return 
^ tie principle of Protection. I am not prepared to differ with 



Mr. Gladstone's strictures on Protection to-night. I have only 
to point out that Mr. Gladstone did not state the case fairly. 
He said that the farmer and the manufacturer — he talked about 
a silly manufacturer and an uneasy farmer agreeing between 
themselves to put import duties on articles of foreign import, 
the manufacturer to put duties on manufactures and the farmer 
to have duties on corn and wheat and articles of home produce. 
He asked what benefit would arise to the artisan and agricultural 
labourer from these duties ? He insinuated that no benefit would 
arise, and I am not prepared to contradict him. But I think, 
when you are talking on a subject of great interest to the people, 
and when you hold such a position as Mr. Gladstone does, 
you should be careful to state the case fairly to the people ; 
and Mr. Gladstone ought undoubtedly to have added that the 
advocates of Protection have always urged that a great stimulus 
to industry and a great rise in wages would, as they allege. 
follow a return to protective duties, and would entirely com- 
pensate — and more than compensate — the labourer and the 
artisan for the rise in the price of necessaries of life. I do not 
at all commit myself to that argument for Protection, but 
it is one which the country is perfectly open to consider. 
The main reason why I do not join myself with the Protec- 
tionists is that I believe that low prices of the necessaries of 
life and political stability under democratic institutions are 
practically inseparable, and that high prices of the necessaries 
of life and political instability under democratic institutions 
are also practically inseparable. That is one reason for being 
extremely cautious before joining in with the Protectionist cry. 
I pass to another question which Mr. Gladstone touched 
upon, and which he said very little about — the question of Local 
Government. He alluded to it as a matter of pressing im- 
portance, and stated that local government should be reformed 
because we wanted the introduction into our local government 
of the representative principle. There I entirely agree with 
him. I think that, as you have given full and perfect repre- 
sentation to the masses of the people for imperial purposes, it is 
idle and frivolous and ridiculous to be fearful of giving full and 
perfect representation to the people in local concerns. He went 


on to say we wanted a readjustment, a large and equitable re- 
adjustment, of imperial and local burdens. Well, there I also 
entirely agree with him, and so do the entire Unionist party. 
And then he said that we wanted in connection with local govern- 
ment great decentralisation ; and there again not the slightest 
difference, I imagine, would arise between Mr. Gladstone and his 
Unionist opponents. I think it is absolutely necessary, in any 
large scheme of local government, that we should confer on the 
county councils large executive powers, large taxing powers, and 
to some extent legislative powers also. I think that by that 
means you would enormously diminish the labour which now 
devolves upon the House of Commons. Therefore, you observe, 
Mr. Gladstone has no monopoly whatever with regard to the 
necessity for great reforms in local government. 

Now I come to the question of the liquor laws ; and on that 
he was extremely vague, and I do not think the temperance 
party owe anything to Mr. Gladstone. Nothing whatever ; they 
have given him many times a warm and hearty support, and 
what has he done for them ? Nothing at all. On three separate 
occasions in the Parliament of 1880-85 the principle of local 
option was affirmed by large majorities in the House of Commons, 
but not a morsel of attention did Mr. Gladstone pay to those 
majorities. When he found himself at the head of a majority 
in 1886, neither at that time did he attempt to deal with the 
question, and he does not say one word on the subject at the 
present moment except this : that he regrets — he, of all people 
in the world ! — that there has been a delay in legislating on this 
question. He does not announce any intention of dealing with 
it if he came into power. He says that the temperance party 
need not hope for legislation in a temperance direction until he 
has been enabled to repeal the Union between Great Britain 
and Ireland. I cannot follow that argument. If the case which 
is represented by the temperance party affects vitally the social 
condition of the great masses of the people, then, I say, nothing 
ought to delay legislation on that question, and that there is 
no reason whatever why legislation which affects the health, 
the lives, and the morals of millions of individuals in the 
country ought to be retarded on account of the necessity for a 


constitutional organic change in the relations between Ireland 
and Great Britain. But although Mr. Gladstone was vague, I 
will, with your permission, not be so vague. I give you ray 
own ideas very briefly on the subject of the reform of the 
liquor laws. I have (of course I speak for myself) — I have 
had great and peculiar opportunities of ascertaining what I may 
well believe to be the tendency — the general prevailing tendency 
— and disposition of the mind of the Tory party in Parliament 
and in the country ; and though possibly here and there 1 may 
go a little beyond it, still I do not think that I shall be very 
far out. My own view of the liquor laws is that they are 
intimately connected with the question of local government. 
Constitute in your rural districts, as you have in your city dis- 
tricts, a popular representative government, and I think you 
may hand over to them very large powers for regulating the 
drink traffic in their districts. But up to this point I am still 
vague. Perhaps you would say : * Would you give to the local 
authority power to prohibit totally all sale of drink within their 
district ? * Well, I would and I would not. (Laughter ; and a 
Voice : ' Let's have it out.') In theory I would, and in practice 
I would not. I do not think you could, if you deal genuinely 
with the question, withhold from the local authority practically 
unlimited powers with regard to the drink question, but I would 
introduce two very salutary checks upon any impulsive or 
fanatical or hasty action, and they would be checks connected 
with the pocket. In the first place, I imagine that a great 
feature of the readjustment of imperial and local burdens would 
be the total transference, or almost total transference, from 
imperial authority to local authority of the revenue arising from 
licences of all kinds. I think that if the revenue which arises 
from licences for the sale of drink was made an important 
source of revenue for the local authority, the local authority 
would not hastily or impulsively or fanatically deprive them- 
selves of a useful source of revenue. After all, gentlemen, the 
only test that ] know of, the only real test of earnestness on any 
subject, is the pocket. I heard a story the other day of 
reverend gentleman — I would not on any account mention 
what denomination he belongs, but he is a reverend gentleman- 


who owns some house property in a town. He was informed 
that on this property was a gin-shop in which a great deal of 
drunkenness, a great deal of disorder, and a great deal of immo- 
rality nightly took place. Well, he was very much shocked — 
horribly shocked — and he immediately went to his solicitor and 
told him that he must immediately sell the property, and that 
he would not own it an hour. The solicitor said, i Of course, 
sir, it is my business to carry out your instructions, but I had 
better remind you before doing so that the property in ques- 
tion pays eight per cent., and that if I were to sell the pro- 
perty and invest the money I could not get more than four 
per cent/ l Oh,' said the reverend gentleman, ' I will think 
about it ; I will go home and consult my wife.' And he did ; 
and the solicitor has never heard anything more about that 
gin-shop. I do not know whether the moral of the story is very 
edifying, but after all it is only human nature. When you are 
legislating about subjects which interest human beings, it is 
just as well not to leave altogether out of account human 
nature; and I cannot help thinking that a properly devised 
check which affects the pocket would control fanaticism with 
regard to the prohibition of the sale of liquor. But there is one 
more check. I think that the total prohibition of the sale of 
liquor would be attended with evil. I can imagine a district 
where the large majority of the people were firmly persuaded 
of the evil of the sale of intoxicating liquor and were prepared 
to prohibit it. I can imagine a county council elected for the 
purpose of prohibiting all sale of drink within the district. 
But I can go farther, and I can imagine such an amount 
of inconvenience, of annoyance, of vexation, and discomfort 
of every kind arising to individuals from restrictions of that 
kind, that by the time the next county council was elected 
a majority would be returned in favour of the unrestricted sale 
of drink, and the decision of the former council would be en- 
tirely reversed. Theiefore you might have the most violent 
fluctuations of law with regard to the sale of drink — a series 
°t reactions : sometimes a popular vote in favour of total ab- 
stinence, and perhaps in a year or two a reaction in favour 
of the most unrestricted sale. Therefore it seems absolutely 


necessary to devise a still more forcible check on fanatical 
dealings with the sale of drink, and I would suggest this— 
that wherever the establishments for the sale of liquor are 
abolished in a sweeping and in a rapid manner, there ought 
at once to come in the question of compensation of vested 
interests. A scale should be devised and applied to regulate 
where compensation should apply, and to what extent. Xo 
doubt great controversy w r ould arise as to where the compensa- 
tion should come in ; but that compensation in some form would 
have to come in somewhere, and ought to come in somewhere, 
I have no doubt whatever. But, subject to those two restrictions, 
gentlemen, I frankly say I am in favour of legislation in the 
direction of temperance. I do not advocate it on moral grounds, 
because it would not be my business to do so ; others can do so 
better than I. I advocate it on economic grounds. There can 
be no question that an enormous amount of the crime in the 
United Kingdom springs from the unrestricted sale of drink. 
I was talking the other day to a police magistrate in a very 
crowded part of London — a practical man of the world, for whose 
opinion 1 have the highest respect, and he told me at least two- 
thirds of all the crime that came before him arose from the 
unrestricted sale of drink — what I may call the fatal facility of 
recourse to the public-house and the gin-shop. What is the 
effect of that ? The effect of that is, that we have to maintain 
a large criminal population in our prisons, which is an immense 
burden upon the community, because the population of our 
prisons is utterly uuremunerative. Not only do they bring 
in nothing, but if that population was not in the prisons, if they 
were not a criminal population, they would be active workers 
contributing to the welfare of the community ; so that the loss is 
a double one. It is the expenditure involved in their useless 
maintenance, and it is the loss which the community sustains 
from their labour not being available for the good of the com- 
munity. Therefore any legislation which would diminish — as 
I believe sensible temperance legislation would — the criminal 
population in our prisons would really be legislation of a highly 
economical character. But I have yet to put another question 
still more important. The amount of money the British people 


spend on drink yearly is something enormous. I forget the 
exact amount, but it certainly exceeds a hundred millions. Now 
imagine if by some reasonable and wise legislation we could 
diminish the facility of recourse to public-houses and gin-shops, 
what a very large proportion of these millions would be diverted 
from the liquor trade and would flow to other trades and 
industries. All trades would benefit. More food would be 
purchased, and better kinds of food. More clothing would be 
purchased, and better kinds of clothing. More furniture would 
be purchased, and better kinds of furniture. More education 
would be given to children, and a better kind of education. In 
every way in which money could be diverted from expenditure 
on the liquor trade, the other trades of the country would 
benefit. In these days of bad trade and hard times, we cannot, 
if we are wise, afford to neglect any means which may justly 
and legitimately stimulate the trade and industry of Britain. 
I think you will admit that I have been much more frank and 
distinct on the question of liquor laws than Mr. Gladstone. It 
is quite possible I have some friends sitting near me with whom 
I may get into a little hot water with regard to what I have said. 
I have been unfortunate in getting very often into hot water with 
some of my Tory friends. Still I believe that the opinions I have 
put before you are not immoderate opinions. I believe they are 
not unwise opinions. I believe they are practical and safe' opinions. 
Mr. Gladstone alluded to the question of Disestablishment, to 
what he called religious equality, and here again he was more 
vague and more ambiguous than ever. He was not only ambi- 
guous, but I think he was disingenuous ; and if I did not wish to 
be extremely respectful to him I should say that his treatment of 
the Disestablishment question was immoral ; because, how did he 
treat the great and solemn question involved in the maintenance 
or abolition of the connection between Church and State ? He 
treats it as nothing more or less than as a question of political 
and electoral legerdemain. He divided it into two or three 
heads. He talked of the Welsh Church and the necessity for 
disestablishment in Wales. He talked of the Scotch Church 
and the demand for disestablishment in Scotland ; but by some 
inexplicable process, perfectly peculiar to himself, he mixed up 


the two questions of Home Rule and of Disestablishment. He 
argued that Wales ought to receive disestablishment as a boon 
because it returned more Home Rulers proportionately, and 
therefore disestablishes, than Scotland, which was rather luke- 
warm and rather Laodicean in its demand for Home Rule. 
which had not returned anything like so large a proportion of 
Home Rulers, and therefore disestablishers. Can yon conceive 
anything more improper ? He mixes up two questions which 
are totally distinct. He uses, as it were, the disestablishment 
of the Church, a great and solemn question, as a bribe by which 
to gain support for his Repeal policy. But on the question of 
English disestablishment he was worse than on the question of 
Scotch and Welsh disestablishment. He did not say, and he 
did not give the smallest hint, whether he was in favour of it or 
whether he was against it. All he said was, he could not do 
everything at the same time. He said: * You may agitate for 
it ; I will not necessarily oppose it. You may get it for all 1 
care, but everything cannot be done at the same time. You 
cannot drive six omnibuses abreast through Temple Bar.' No**' 1 
I ask you, gentlemen — and there are many here who arenotl>5 
any means partisans of the Tories — I dare say there are some v** 
this hall who are followers of Mr. Gladstone — I ask them, I> ^ 
they think that that is a proper or decent way of treating befor*" - " 
the people of England so great and so solemn a question ? Hov^ - " - 
can you place unlimited confidence in a man who treats th^^ 
gravest question in such a manner ? I will not go into th^^ 
question of Church and State to-night. I content myself witfc^ 
expressing my own opinion, which, I believe, is the opinion o^t 
almost the entire Unionist party, that I am distinctly hostile to^ 
disestablishment either in Wales or in Scotland or in England. 
I believe firmly, and I do not think anything will ever change 
my conviction, that the work which has been done by the Church 
among the masses of the people is a great and a sacred work, 
that it is being pursued with ever-increasing activity, that the 
connection of the Church with the State gives to that work 
greater vigour, greater authority, and greater independence than 
it would otherwise possess ; and I am certain that nothing but 
the most unmitigated evil and disaster can possibly flow from 


any appropriation of ecclesiastical property to secular purposes. 
We have had some experience in this question of Disestablish- 
ment. Look at Ireland. We were told the disestablishment 
of the Irish Church would heal the woes and pacify the grie- 
vances of Ireland, that it would elevate the condition of the 
people. Has it done so ? Has the appropriation of the property 
of the Irish Church to secular purposes increased material pro- 
sperity in that country ? I cannot see that any great, tangible, 
practical, undeniable national benefits have followed from the 
disestablishment of the Irish Church. It is a matter of opinion, 
but I see nothing in past legislation to tempt us farther on the 
road of plunder of ecclesiastical establishments. 

I have dealt with nearly all the questions which Mr. Glad- 
stone alluded to, but I must point out to you two omissions 
in Mr. Gladstone's programme. Not one word, not one sentence 
was there in that lengthy speech which referred to the greatest 
of all questions — the question of economy, the question of 
financial retrenchment and of departmental reform. I have 
special and peculiar reasons for being disappointed at that 
omission. I think it is a most grave omission, one which the 
people ought to take the most serious notice of, because it is 
obvious that it must have been intentional, and that in his pro- 
gramme for the future legislation or development of the country, 
if the work was committed to him, economy or retrenchment 
find no place. There was another most remarkable omission. 
J3e said nothing whatever about popular education — not a word. 
ICJementary education in the aspect which now interests the 
masses of the people — I mean free education — found no place 
1*1 Mr. Gladstone's programme. On the question of free educa- 
tion I have thought much, and I have long been of opinion 
tJia.t> it is very difficult indeed to combine compulsory attendance 
°*" children at elementary schools with the compulsory payment 
°** *^es by the parents of the children. I think that the duty of 
t * 1 ^ State is to remove every obstacle, to provide every reason- 
**>1^ facility for getting the children of England into the schools 
m England. And if it is found, as I think it may be found, in 
Sox ^e parts, perhaps in many parts, that the payment of fees is 
IXo ^ only a great obstacle to education but a great hardship on 


the struggling and labouring poor, then I think an effort should 
be made to relieve these persons from the payment of fees. I 
do not see much difficulty in the matter. I do not think the 
position of voluntary schools need be affected. It would be 
quite possible to take over on to the Consolidated Fund the 
whole amount now paid by parents of children for fees in ele- 
mentary schools. The sum is not a very large one, nothing 
appalling or alarming ; and it would be quite possible for the 
State to repay to all schools which were free the amount which 
those schools would have derived from the receipt of fees. I see 
no difficulty in that, nor do I think it would injure the position 
of denominational schools, which confer enormous benefit upon 
the community. I may be told that such legislation is not 
economically sound. I dispute the proposition altogether. As 
with temperance legislation, so with educational legislation— 
the more you extend it the more you will diminish your criminal 
population, the more you will encourage thrift and morality of 
every kind, the more you will, I believe, develop a disposition 
to struggle against adversity, the more you will raise the soci**i 
condition of the people throughout the land. It is tralj 
economic legislation; all the money you lay out wisely on ed^*" 
cation will be repaid to you one hundredfold. I will go furtk«^ T 
and say that legislation for the purpose of bringing educatUr* 11 
freely to every child in England is the truest Conservati ^~ £ 
legislation. If by temperance legislation or educational legisl ^*' 
tion you can increase the material prosperity of English hom^* 
you have clone nearly all that you can for the happiness of it*' 
people throughout the country. 


Mr. Gladstone — upon what T hold to be an utterly unte*^* 
able assumption, that the difficulties in connection with Iri^^ 
government are, under the present arrangements, insuperabJ * 
and permanent — calls upon you to allow him to fabricate ; 
totally new Constitution for the United Kingdom, the mai "* 
feat ure of which is the abolition in its present form of tb* 4 
Parliament at Westminster, and the substitution in its place *^> 
two Parliaments and two Governments for the United Kingdom*"* 
That is Mr. Gladstone's proposal. He argues to this effect 


that the United Kingdom is not really united, and cannot be 
united, until the United Kingdom is governed by two Parlia- 
ments and two Governments, practically independent of each 
other, each going its own way, and in all probability disputing 
and quarrelling, and even fighting, with each other. Only the 
mind of Mr. Gladstone could evolve union out of such an 
arrangement. He might as well argue that the felicity and 
perfect comfort of married life is only/o be found in divorce. 
On that argument, on that extraordinary assumption, Mr. 
Gladstone offers to the English people, to the Scotch people, 
and to the Irish people, to provide them with a totally new 
Constitution, which, he claims, will sweep away as if by magic 
all the difficulties in Ireland which we have to contend with. 
I can well understand persons saying to Mr. Gladstone : ' You 
tell us you are going to remove the great difficulties of govern- 
ment in Ireland ; but let us know your remedy ; let us have 
your whole plan before us before we consent to so large a change 
as you propose \ let us know exactly what you mean to do, and 
then we shall be able to &ay whether we can support your policy 
or not.' I can understand that frame of mind. But what does 
]Wr. Gladstone say to that demand ? He says, ' That is a 
demand I cannot comply with. You have got to leave the 
whole matter in my hands, leave it absolutely to my judgment. 
L£ 1 was to explain to you beforehand my plan, by which I pro- 
pose to establish a new Constitution consisting of two Parlia- 
ments and two Governments, I should utterly destroy all the 
LO pes I have of carrying that Constitution into effect. I shall 
e ll you nothing about it.' That is what he says to the people 
^ England, what he has said ever since the last election, and 
r ^^t he said last night at Nottingham. ' I shall tell you nothing 
boiit it. You must give me a docile majority and unlimited 
°Wer, and you must trust implicitly to me to provide you 
r it'h a first-class article. That is the demand which lie 
a ^fces. Remember what is at stake. This is no ordinary law 
r Hi c h Mr. Gladstone seeks to pass. This is no ordinary reform 
** C H as political conflict has arisen over before. It is some- 
**g widely different. It is an immense modification, it is 
^Uiost a total transformation, of the Constitution of the United 


Kingdom. It is a change which affects not only the thirty- 
six millions of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom, but 
which also affects directly and immediately the three hundred 
millions of people who depend upon the Government, upon the 
Parliament, upon the strength of the United Kingdom. That 
is the nature of this business, and you are asked gravely by 
Mr. Gladstone to confide the whole management of this affair to 
him, and to him alone; "and he utterly and resolutely refuses to 
give the people the smallest information or indication as to the 
manner in which he intends to carry the change into effect. 
Now I will reason, if I may, from private affairs, because there 
is an analogy between private affairs and public affairs. This 
town of Sunderland contains, and is surrounded by, a great 
number of large manufacturing and commercial establishments 
in which millions of capital are embarked and hundreds and 
thousands of hands are employed. Times are bad, and difficulties 
arise in connection with the carrying on of business at a profit. 
I ask yon who are connected with the management of any of 
these establishments : suppose a man comes to you and says, 
'The way in which )ou carry on your business is altogether 
wrong ; it must be totally changed and transformed — the whole 
system of your business. If you will change and transform itj 
instead of returning you 10 per cent, or 5 per cent, it shal* 
ret urn you 50 per cent/ If you were to say in reply, 'That is vei"J 
interesting and alluring, but would you kindly tell me the detail 
of the changes which you propose to institute in my business ^ 
Suppose he said, ' Oh, no, that is impossible ; you must leave \\> e 
whole plan to my judgment ; you must give over the whole <&* 
your business to me, and trust implicitly to the arrangement -^ 
will make.' Well, now, what would any one who was a practice*'* 
manager do with a fellow who talked to him like that? Ithin^^ 
he would kick him off the premises as an impostor and a knave" - 
There is an analogy between such a private matter as I hav^* 
put before you and this great national matter, the Repeal of th^" 
Union. And is it not curious that there are people in private^* 
affairs who would denounce such a demand as utterly lunatic^ 
and criminal, and yet in public affairs are prepared blindly anc^ 
unreflectingly to concede such a demand? The English an<£~ 


Scotch people are proverbially hard-headed people. I cannot 
forget that the men of the North Country have a special and 
peculiar reputation for hard-headedness and businesslike and 
practical modes of managing their affairs. Is it within the range 
[>f possibility — surely it is not within the range of possibility — 
bhat the British democracy, that the hard-headed men of the 
North should confide the whole of their political fortunes and the 
future destinies of the empire to one man, without possessing 
beforehand from that one man the clearest knowledge and the 
most precise information as to the use which he intends to 
make of the power when he gets it ? And yet, what is the 
position ? Mr. Gladstone says, i I will establish two Parliaments, 
iwo Governments, in the United Kingdom. The rest you must 
leave to me. What shall be the relation of these two Parlia- 
nents to each other, what shall be the precise powers and 
imits to the respective action of these Parliaments, I will not 
el\ you. If you ask me I will say you are laying a trap into 
vhich I won't walk.' ' Whether I will deal finally with the land 
[uestion in Ireland by means of the tax-payers' money or remit 
hat question to the Irish Parliament, I won't tell you. If you 
sk me, you are laying a trap into which I won't walk.' ' Whether 
will deal separately with the province of Ulster, or hand over 
h.e province of Ulster to the Irish Parliament, I won't tell 
on. It is the worst of all the traps which yon are trying to 
*y for me in asking the question.' ' Whether the Irish members 
f" Parliament shall remain at Westminster, whether Ireland 
iall be represented at Westminster or not, or whether Irish 
-presentation at Westminster shall cease, I decline to tell you. 
k is another of those diabolical traps which my opponents are 
*ying for me in every direction.' ' You must leave all these 
otters,' he says, ' which I admit to be matters of the most 
^found importance, absolutely to my judgment and my dis- 
^tion.' His judgment and his discretion ! The judgment 
^ discretion of ' the old pilot ! ' I will not detain you this 
filing by examining the record of the old pilot during the 
sars 1880 to 1885. It is sufficient to say that the old pilots 
*°* of pilotage was to discern wherever he could a rock upon 
*© ocean and to steer the ship of State right upon that rock. 


You have had some experience of his skill and judgment in 
dealing with this question and in fabricating a new Consti- 
tution. You recollect that in 1886, without the authority of 
the people — without, as it were, the knowledge of the people, 
taking the people by surprise — he produced a plan for the esta- 
blishment in the United Kingdom of two Parliaments and 
two Governments. That plan was found to be so bad, so non- 
sensical, so utterly ridiculous, that it was decisively rejected 
by the Parliament in which he had a majority, and still more 
decisively rejected by the country. And yet, in spite of that 
experience, he still comes before the English people and claims 
from them unlimited powers. He says his former plans are 
dead, therein' admitting them to be bad plans. He says he will 
produce a fresh plan, and calls upon the people to give him un- 
limited power in order that he may make another try at setting 
up two Parliaments and two Governments for the United King- 
dom. Before you listen to that demand, if you are reasonable 
and intelligent, as 1 know you to be, you are bound to force him 
to lay his whole plan before you. Remember that if yon ever 
give him a majority, you have very little power until Parliament 
comes before you again. Therefore you should be most carefiil, 
in so large a matter, to know exactly where you are going and 
exactly what use is going to be made of the power you confer. 
J pray you, do not lose yourselves in the mazes of Irish history. 
I pray you not to yield yourselves up to maudlin sentiment 
over Irish wrongs and Irish woes. What you have got to do 
is to call upon these men to explain themselves, to expound to 
you their remedies. Say to them, ' Show us your plan befo* 6 
you expect us to be a party to your policy, before you exp^' 
us to give you the power to carry that policy into effect.' "Y° u 
must force these men, these Repealers, to descend from tho- e 
altitudes of sentiment and bogus humanitarianism in which th e ^ 
wander. You must force them to emerge from that cloud a** 
mist of the rights of man and the rights of nationalities- * 
which they delight to hide themselves. Y r ou must force the*** 
to explain their paradoxical notion that union is only to t^ 
found in separation, and that national prosperity can only fc^ 
created by anarchy and by crime. Bring them down, gentled 


i, to the common level ground of plain matter-of-fact busi- 
s. Make them show you their hands, explain to you their 
re remedy, and disclose to you their plan in all detail. If 
1 a line is adopted by the people of England as a body, and 
ered to, then I am sure that the genius of Britain, which 
r ers and shatters nonsense and imposture of every kind, 
penetrate and reject the tinselled theories and the gaudy 
cies in which Repealers revel, and will guide the democracy 
tg the path of national honour, of public credit, of imperial 
ht and renown — the path which our fathers consistently 
I, and which we and our sons in turn must tread. 


Newcastle, October 22, 1887. 

[In the following speech the main facts connected with several 
cases of alleged outrage in Ireland, such as the Kinsella case and the 
M itchelstown affray, were minutely examined, in reply to statements 
which had just been made by Mr. Gladstone. These comments, on 
what may be regarded as incidents of transitory importance, are now 
omitted. The remaining portions of the speech have a permanent 

IN the course of this week the leader of the Opposition, Mr. 
Gladstone, has arraigned before the people of this country 
the Unionist party, her Majesty's Ministers, and he has espe- 
cially arraigned the action of the Irish Executive Government. 
He has brought an indictment against them ; he has tried them ; 
and he has found them guilty. And he calls upon the people of 
England to take a similar course. Now I am not going this 
afternoon to put in any plea for any arrest of judgment against 
the indictment of Mr. Gladstone. I am going to try, if yo a 
will allow me, to meet that indictment on every point, and to 
claim from you and from the people of this county and outeid e 
this county a complete and perfect acquittal on all the charges 
which Mr. Gladstone brings. Mr. Gladstone based his indict' 
ment at Nottingham mainly upon two grounds. He indicted 
the Government and the Unionist party for having adopted in 
their treatment of Ireland what he called a policy of coercion ; 
and the second ground on which he based his indictment was 
the administration of the law by the Irish Executive. Nowitis 
a favourite topic with Radical speakers — it is a topic which has 
often been urged before Newcastle audiences by Mr. Morley — that 
the Tory party are prone to coercion, and that they had exhibited 


that proneness by precipitately recurring at the earliest oppor- 
tunity in their government of Ireland to what Mr. Morley called 
1 the days of dark and tyrannous Toryism.' I merely repeat 
that expression without examining it. I look upon it as a 
wide stretch of the rhetorical faculty. I should rather be in- 
clined to think Mr. Morley means by that expression a method 
rf government which fifty years ago was in accordance with the 
public opinion of that time, but which would not be in accor- 
lance with the public opinion of the present day. I think that 
■8 a more sensible way of putting it. But let me examine this 
charge that the Tory party and the Unionist party have hastily 
recurred to methods of tyrannical and arbitrary government. 
What is the recent history of the Tory Government ? When, in 
1885, Mr. Gladstone's Government fell, a Tory Government 
acceded to office ; and what did they do ? They found that 
crime was diminishing in Ireland, and that order was increasing 
in Ireland. They knew that the Irish were about to exercise, 
with much greater latitude than had ever been the case before, 
«he franchise for the election of a new Parliament, and they 
letermined that, in order that no unnecessary or irritating 
frievance should annoy the Irish mind, and prejudice the Irish 
lind against the connection with England — they determined, 
bough undoubtedly the decision was a most anxious and respon- 
nble one, that they would make an effort to govern Ireland 
without renewing the special criminal law which Mr. Gladstone 
•d found necessary. Therefore there was no precipitate or 
Ktrried recourse to the ' dark and tyrannous days of Toryism ' 
h©n. There were two things which the Government of that 
**y did not foresee, did not know — one thing which they could 
n °t have known, and one which they could hardly have known. 
The Government of that day could never have foreseen, and could 
*0t possibly have known, that Mr. Gladstone would in so short 
• time have given his adhesion to the cause of the Repeal of the 
Union — a step which on his part has immeasurably stengthened 
the forces of sedition and of disorder in Ireland ; and, furthermore, 
He Government of that day did not know the wide extent and 
the formidable organisation of the National League in Ireland. 
Owing to these two causes — the power of the National League, 

s 2 


the desperate manner in which it was used, and also to the 
adoption by Mr. Gladstone of a policy of Home Rule — the honest, 
bow i fide effort which the Tory Government of 1885 made to 
govern Ireland by the ordinary law broke down, and in January 
1 88G, although the Government knew that their tenure of 
power could only be counted by days and by hours, they came 
before Parliament, and they committed themselves without 
hesitation, without calculation, solely from honest motives, and 
from actual knowledge which they possessed, to a policy of 
strengthening the law in Ireland. So much for that Govern- 
ment. It went out of office in January, and a brief interval 
took place, in which Mr. Gladstone was Prime Minister; and 
in August 1886 Mr. Gladstone left office, and again a Tory 
Government succeeded him. What did the Tory Government 
do ? Was there any hasty or precipitate recourse to c the dark 
and tyrannous days of Toryism ' ? Did the Tory Government 
immediately ask Parliament for any special criminal law ? They 
did not. And why ? Because, although they knew that the state 
of Ireland was disturbed — although they knew that the adminis- 
tration of law in Ireland was attended with the utmost difficulty- 
still they did hope, and they had reason to hope, that the alliance 
which had been formed between the party of Mr. Gladstone 
and the party of Mr. Parnell — mischievous as they held that 
alliance to be to all the interests of the country — still thej* 
had reason to hope that at any rate it would have this effect <, 
that respect for the Constitution would lead Mr. Gladstone an.*-* 
his followers to restrain the revolutionary party of Mr. Parnel^ 
and would keep the agitation for the Repeal of the Union dm-* 
the agitation on the subject of Irish land within the bounds ^^ 
the law. At any rate, there was no precipitate recourse t^~ 
arbitrary measures of government. That plan, that hope, th^^ 
intention broke down like the former one ; and what was tb^» 
determining factor which caused that policy to break down ? ^ 
was the Plan of Campaign. The Plan of Campaign was P 1 " 6 **" 
cisely similar in all its incidents and in all its character to wha»- 
you are well acquainted with under the name of the No-re**- 
Manifesto of 1881. There was a precise similarity between $l 
No-rent Manifesto of the Land League in 1881 and the Fl*** 


of Campaign of the National League in 1887. Both denoted 
action of this kind, that it was an illegal withholding of legal 
obligations by violent resistance to the process of the law 
and by intimidation of the Queen's subjects. That was the 
Plan of Campaign, that was the No-rent Manifesto ; they were 
similar in their incidents and their aims. Why do I make 
this close comparison between the Plan of Campaign and the 
No-rent Manifesto ? For this reason, that Mr. Gladstone the 
other day at Derby had the temerity to assert that the reason 
why he could not be attacked by us on account of his having 
resorted to coercive measures for the government of Ireland 
when he was in office was because the Irish party of to-day 
had totally changed from the Irish party of that day. As well 
might you expect the Ethiopian to change his skin or the 
leopard his spots. Mr. Gladstone argued that when he had 
recourse to coercion in 1881 the Irish party had made a danger- 
ous and a violently illegal attack upon property by means of 
the No-rent Manifesto. As a matter of fact, Mr. Gladstone's 
statement is historically incorrect; because we must recollect 
that Mr. Gladstone during his tenure of office from 1880 to 
1885 brought in two Coercion Bills, and the first Coercion Bill 
preceded the No-rent Manifesto by several months. Not only 
bo, but that great and memorable denunciation of the Land 
league which Mr. Gladstone uttered at Leeds, and which he 
neferred to the other day at Derby, when he denounced the 
Land League as a body of men whose objects were public 
plunder, and who were marching through rapine to the dismem- 
berment of the empire — that denunciation preceded the No- 
r^nt Manifesto. There was this difference between the No-rent 
^ffanifesto and the Plan of Campaign — a difference against Mr. 
Grladstone, and in favour of the present Government — that the 
No-rent Manifesto was no sooner issued than it was disavowed 
°y the Irish Land League. Moreover, the No-rent Manifesto 
w as not acted upon by the people of Ireland. The payment of 
*®ok after the No-rent Manifesto proceeded with difficulty, as 
I it had proceeded with difficulty before the No-rent Manifesto. 
I T^he No-rent Manifesto, for all practical purposes connected 
I *ith order in Ireland, made hardly any difference at all to the 


Government of the day. But what of the Plan of Campaign? 
The Plan of Campaign of last winter was not only not disavowed 
by the National League, but it was avowed by the leaders of the 
National League as their plan. It was not only avowed : it was 
gloried in. It was not only gloried in : it was preached all over 
Ireland ; and not only that, but, differing again from the No-rent 
Manifesto, the Plan of Campaign was widely acted on by the 
Irish tenantry. 

I have shown you that Mr. Gladstone had recourse to coercion 
for Ireland before the No-rent Manifesto ; I have shown you 
that the present Government did not have recourse to coercion 
for Ireland until after the wide adoption of the Plan of Cam- 
paign. Look at the importance of the difference. Mr. Glad- 
stone says our strongest charge against him is that he resorted 
to precisely similar methods for governing Ireland as we do 
now, and he says he has dismissed that charge and shattered it 
by his argument that the nature of the Irish party had changed. 
] have shown you that the nature of the Irish party is the 
same, as judged by a comparison between the Plan of Cam- 
paign and the No-rent Manifesto; and further I have shown 
you that this Tory Government which Mr. Morley charges with 
being so ready, so precipitate, in having recourse to the 'days 
of dark and tyrannous Toryism/ has exhibited to the Irish 
people far more patience, far more forbearance, far more relactr 
ance to resort to extreme measures than did the Government 
of which Mr. Gladstone was the head. But I will not yet leave 
the subject. Mr. Gladstone avers that the Irish party has 
changed — that their objects are more moderate, and that their 
methods are different and more legal. I assert — and I challeng 6 
contradiction — that the National League of the present day && 
the Land League of Mr. Gladstone's day are one and the sa** ie 
body; that they do not differ in the slightest respect. Vfb 0, 
proof would 1 bring of that assertion ? I do not go to $ 
William llarcourt. He is the last witness I would call. At* 
therefore I do not go to him and quote his saying when T* 
was a "Minister of the Grown that the National League was t£* 
apostolic successor to the Land League. I put him asid*^ * 
and go to a more credible and more recent witness — I mea-^^ 


Mr. Michael Davitt. Only the other day — about three weeks 
ago — Mr. Michael Davitt, addressing the people of Cork, and 
through them the people of Ireland, said that the National 
League and the Land League were one and the same body, that 
they had not changed, that their objects were the same, that 
their methods were the same, that their officers were the same, 
and their members the same. Now, who is likely to know most 
about the National League ? Mr. Davitt or Mr. Gladstone ? 
And in the face of the assertion of Mr. Davitt, what becomes 
of Mr. Gladstone's contention that the Irish party have changed 
their methods and their objects. Now, let us see how far we 
have got. We have established the absolute identity of the 
National League and the Land League, and we have got Mr. 
Gladstone's admission, made at Derby the other day, that his 
coercion of the Land League was right and justifiable. We 
have established the absolute similarity between the Plan of 
Campaign and the No-rent Manifesto, and we have got Mr. 
Gladstone's assertion, made at Derby the other day, that the 
No-rent Manifesto was an action of dangerous and violent ille- 
gality. And we have got to this : that whereas Mr. Gladstone 
applied to Parliament for coercion before the No-rent Manifesto, 
and at a time when the No-rent Manifesto had not been acted on 
by the people of Ireland — had not, indeed, been issued — the pre- 
sent Government did not apply to Parliament for special powers 
until after the Plan of Campaign had been initiated, and at a 
tame when the Plan of Campaign was being dangerously acted 
upon among the Irish people. In the face of this, what becomes 
of Mr. Gladstone's indictment against the Government and the 
Unionist party that we have resorted to coercion on insufficient 
ground ? There is one more accusation which I am anxious to 
deal with. Mr. Gladstone declares that the Unionist party at 
the last election pledged themselves before the people of England 
that they would have no recourse to coercion in Ireland. I declare 
that that accusation is unfounded. I defy Mr. Gladstone or 
•tty of his followers to quote from one single speech or address 
°* any leading member of the Unionist party at the last election 
one single sentence or opinion which, by any stretch of imagina- 
™*>u or any exercise of ingenuity, could be twisted into a pledge 


that the Unionist party would not have recourse to coercion for 
the government of Ireland. I know that there is no such 
declaration to be found. I say there is no single leader of the 
Unionist party who gave such a pledge as Mr. Gladstone de- 
scribed. The accusation is nonsensical on the face of it. What 
was the issue before the country in 1886 ? It was whether 
the country would adhere to the old policy or go in for the 
new. The old policy was the policy of maintaining the Union. 
Th* new policy was the policy of repealing the Union. Both 
policies involved coercion under certain circumstances. The 
policy of maintaining the Union involved the possibility, nay, 
even the probability, of having to ask Parliament for extra- 
ordinary powers to repress and control the National League. 
But the policy of repealing the Union involved the absolute 
certainty of the Irish Parliament arming their Government with 
extra powers for the coercion of Ulster. The coercion of the 
Protestant community of Ulster is a far more wicked, far more 
unjustifiable, and a far more brutal kind of coercion than any 
which the present Government can be supposed to be guilty of. 
I come to the second point, which is perhaps more im- 
portant, and which certainly involves newer topics. I come to 
Mr. Gladstone's indictment against the administration of the law 
in Ireland. Mr. Gladstone has averred that the law as adminis- 
tered in Ireland is disagreeable, and indeed odious, to the Irish 
people : and he said it is no wonder it is disagreeable and odious 
to the Irish people, and he proceeds to adduce certain illustra- 
tions to show why it should be odious and disagreeable to the 
Irish people. I will take these illustrations and examine then). 
But first he makes a general assertion, and says that owing 
to the action of the Government there is no freedom of speech 
in Ireland. Is there not? "We will test that assertion ty 
actual fact. About a fortnight ago there was a meeting in 
the Rotunda, at Dublin, which was attended by the National 1 ^ 
party ; and I have no reason to suppose there was any Govef* 1 ' 
ment reporter at the meeting, and I am certain no prosecuti oT1 
followed the speeches delivered. But I am going to give y°^ 
some gems out of the speeches which were delivered at tb* 1 
meeting, to show that a very considerable freedom of speech do eS 


exist in Ireland — much more freedom than any of us would 
permit ourselves here. Mr. Dillon was speaking on the Coer- 
cion Act, and he said : ' The Lord Mayor and Mr. William 
O'Brien would continue to publish, in defiance of the seventh 
clause, ay, and of the whole Act, the full proceedings and the 
resolutions of every suppressed branch in Ireland if they were 
men enough to hold their meetings and pass their resolutions. 
They had set the Act at open defiance, and invited the Govern- 
ment to put them down if they could and if they dared ; and he 
said in the name of the Irish Press there was not a newspaper 
that called itself National, from Cape Clear to Antrim, that 
would not continue to publish the proceedings of the suppressed 
National League branches in defiance of the clause in the Act, 
and let the Castle do its worst.' There is not much restraint 
there. But Mr. Dillon improves on that. He goes on to say, 
alluding to the evictions at Gweedore and to the action of the 
Roman Catholic priest in stimulating the people to resist the 
police at Gweedore : ' Be it crime or no crime, he told them to 
face the police again and resist them. What was the result of 
Father M'Fadden's action ? A more instructive lesson had 
never been taught the people of Ireland. Father M'Fadden 
faced the police, and drove them and the magistrates in charge 
of them out of Donegal/ Not much want of liberty in that. 
I go on. Mr. Dillon further says : ' The moral of that was that 
every tenant in Irelaud who had the heart of a man in his breast 
should take his stand upon his hearth and fight as long as his 
arm had strength in it for his home.' I am not saying whether 
these sentiments are right or wrong. All I say is, that if senti- 
ments of that kind can be delivered at a public meeting in the 
capital of Ireland, without the smallest interference by the 
Government, what becomes of Mr. Gladstone's charge that there 
18 no freedom of speech in Ireland ? I have only one more quo- 
tation. l It was the national resolve/ said Mr. O'Brien at the 
same meeting, ' to defy that infamous and abominable Act ' — 
that is, the law of the land agreed to by Parliament — c to defy 
that infamous and abominable Act, and to obstruct it and 
defeat it in every possible way, and to hold it up to public 
ttdicule, hatred, and contempt. Their determination was to 


kick Balfour's proclamation from one end of Ireland to the other, 
just as the Mitchelstown boys kicked the helmets of the police 
from the market-square.' I do not think, after what I have read 
to you. and knowing that these speeches were delivered without 
the smallest interference by the Government, that any man in 
England, except the most rabid and most hopeless partisan of 
Repeal, will say that freedom of speech is interfered with in Ire- 
land. We are told that there is not a free press in Ireland. Is 
there not ? 1 have not fortified myself to-day with copies of 
c United Ireland.' In every edition of i United Ireland,' which 
comes out twice or thrice a week, you will find the paper is 
tilled with the wildest accusations, and the most unrestrained 
and abominable and revolting accusations, against the present 
Government, of every sort and kind, and not one of those papers 
has been prosecuted or will be prosecuted on account of the 
accusations against the Government which they contain. How 
can it be said that there is no free press in Ireland ? Writers in 
the Irish press may write, and do write, exactly what they please 
against the Government. No language is too violent for them 
to us»* : no language, however violent, as long as it is just an 
expression of opinion, will entail prosecution ; but when a news- 
paper deliberately sets itself to break the law of the land, as 
agreed to by Parliament, an Irish newspaper, just like an English 
newspaper under similar circumstances, would be brought either 
before a magistrate or a jury. 

[The speaker, having replied to some statements made by Mr. 
Gladstone concerning some alleged abuses committed by the 
police authorities in Ireland, proceeded to defend the police in 
London from Mr. Gladstone's reflections upon them.] 

J must say a word about the police. What I say of the 
police in London applies to the police in Newcastle, or any 
other large town in the country. The duties of the police in 
any large town are of the most arduous, anxious, and responsible 
character. I take London alone. Look at the smallness of the 
number of police in London compared to the population of 
London. 1 think the police in London only number about 
fourteen thousand, among a population of Hve millions. Look at 
their duties : they have not only to look after the property of 


the citizens, they have not only to watch closely over that 
numerous criminal class which resides in every large town. 
They have to look after those societies which exist in England, 
supported from America, for purposes connected with the use of 
dynamite. I know from my own official knowledge that there 
are agents of these societies in many of our large towns on whom 
the police have a watch. I know of an escape of the English 
people from a disaster of unprecedented magnitude in 1883 — an 
escape by a hair's breadth, and an escape brought about only 
by the uncommon watchfulness of the police. But, in addition 
to all that, the police in London have now to watch closely 
those Socialist associations which exist, and which seem to ex- 
ist, for no other purpose than to cause riot and disorder. And 
surely a body of faithful public servants, who have performed 
and are performing duties of so terribly anxious, so terribly 
responsible a nature —surely they are entitled to the generous 
appreciation of the British public, surely they have a right to 
be protected from the hasty, from the unreflecting censure of one 
who, only a few months ago, was Prime Minister of the country 
and responsible for the peace of the whole realm. 

I wish now to discover as briefly as I may the reason of 
this attitude on the part of Mr. Gladstone towards the police 
generally throughout the United Kingdom. It is not an atti- 
tude which he would have taken up a year ago. What is 
the reason of the changed attitude on the part of Mr. Gladstone 
towards the police of the United Kingdom ? That examination 
opens up one of the most serious aspects of the policy of Repeal. 
It opens up this question. What has been the effect on Mr. 
Gladstone and his following of their alliance and fusion with 
a party which is distinctly a revolutionary party? What is 
the difference between a constitutional party and a revolu- 
tionary party ? A constitutional party works as the Tories and 
the Radicals have worked in this country for years past — it works 
by public discussion, by orderly agitation, by the use of argu- 
ment, by petitions of every kind, and by other legal methods. 
That is a constitutional party. What is a revolutionary party ? 
A revolutionary party is a party which, like the party of Mr. 
Parnell, discards all the methods of a constitutional party, and 


relies solely on methods of public disorder, constant disturbance 
of the peace, violent and forcible resistance to all processes and 
forms of law. That is a revolutionary party. And the effect 
upon Mr. Gladstone and his followers of their alliance, their 
fusion with a revolutionary party has been that instead of their 
riiaking, as the Government hoped, a revolutionary party consti- 
tutional, the revolutionary party is making* them revolutionary. 
Their alliance with the revolutionary party has eliminated 
their constitutional disposition, and has forced them to aim at 
revolutionary objects and to work by revolutionary methods. 
That will show why this onslaught is being made by the party of 
Repeal upon the police of the United Kingdom. On that I have 
got to say that if, for the future, political changes and political 
reforms of any kind are to be effected, not by constitutional 
agitation, but by disorder, by disturbance, by violent resistance 
to all forms and processes of law — if that is to be the future of 
our political life, then farewell, a long farewell to all commer- 
cial progress of any kind — farewell, a long farewell to all hope 
and all prosperity of revived trade and industry in England. 
What is the secret of the colossal wealth and power of the 
British Empire ? I hold it to be this — that for a space of two 
hu nd red years revolutionary forces in this country have been 
kept under, that public opinion has never tolerated the exercise 
of revolutionary forces, for the Government of the day have 
always been supported by public opinion in putting down and 
keeping under revolutionary forces. But depend upon it that 
the moment these revolutionary forces, which must exist in all 
great communities, escape from control ; the moment that they 
think, or have reason to believe, any large proportion of public 
opinion, or that any important political party will tolerate, or 
will excuse, or will justify the disorder which they cause, then 
you may be certain that the sun of British prosperity, of British 
weal tli, of British commercial greatness, will set for ever. You 
may imagine to yourselves what would follow if the revolutionary 
forces got the upper hand. All enterprise would be checked, 
all commerce would be contracted, factories and workshops 
would be closed, labour would be unemployed, wages would 
fall. The fact is that the escape of the revolutionary forces 


from control would not affect what Mr. Gladstone calls the 
classes — at any rate would affect them far less than the masses 
of the people. The classes possess capital. Capital can take to 
itself wings and flee away. But what will be the condition of 
the working men of this country, what will be the condition of 
their families and their homes when disorder and anarchy shall 
have taken the place of authority and law ? I have specially 
alluded to this matter in language as strong as I could bring 
to bear, because I think it ought to attract the attention of 
working men. There is no more serious aspect of the Repeal 
movement than the tendency which it seems to show that the 
revolutionary forces are endeavouring to escape from the control 
under which they have been kept for over two hundred years. 
Will the democracy of England be quick enough to discern the 
danger and guard against it while there is time ? I confess 
that I am startled and alarmed at the fact that the majority of 
the electors of this great city, and indeed of the North of 
England generally, should have given in their adhesion to the 
Repeal of the Union. It may be that our exuberant wealth, 
our bounding and swelling prosperity in times not long ago, 
our rapid annexations of territory and acquisitions of empire, 
our measureless commerce, our proud marine, have blunted the 
perceptions and dulled the energies of our race, and have led us 
to believe that we may lightly acquiesce in any political experi- 
ment, any organic change. Yet surely there are moments when 
we must realise that England, surrounded as she is by mighty 
States disposing of innumerable armies, is not invulnerable, 
that her resources are not inexhaustible, and that there is no 
certainty that her empire should endure for ever and for ay. 
Other empires as wide and great as ours have waxed and 
waned, other States as powerful and as wealthy as ours have 
risen and have sunk into the ocean of the past ; and it may be 
that the time is inscribed upon the book of fate when the busy 
marts, the crowded streets, the bustling factories of this living 
city shall be as desolate as the ruins of Thebes, as silent and as 
mournful as the courts of the palaces of the Mogul. Who will 
dare pronounce ? But of this I am certain, that if such is the 
inevitable fate of our empire, history will unerringly decide 


that the knell of our glory and might was earliest tolled on the 
day when the people relaxed their firm grip of the noble prin- 
ciple of the Union and feebly and fatally followed the broad 
and downward path of separation ; on the day when popular 
cowardice was substituted for civic courage ; when surrender to 
rebellion, treason, and sedition was disguised under the specious 
pretexts of concession, conciliation, philanthropy, and the rights 
of nationalities ; when order, law, and loyalty to authority had 
ceased to be the watchwords of the community and were no 
longer the bulwarks of the State. It may be neither right nor 
wise nor profitable thus to speculate upon or pry into the 
mysteries of the future ; but should these anticipations, founded 
upon the mutability of institutions and the spirit of decay which 
pervades all human arrangements, not wander far from actual 
eventuality, then I am confident that it will also be recorded 
that the Unionist party had striven hard and long and to the 
last to avert the doom, and that they are innocent and guiltless 
of all responsibility for a calamity which will shock mankind 
and change the world itself. 


Stockton, October 24, 1887. 

[In 1885 a Royal Commission was appointed by Lord Salisbury's 
Government to inquire into the causes of depression of trade. 
It was presided over by Lord Iddesleigh. Mr. Goscben and other 
leading Liberals refused to take any part in this inquiry, but a 
large mass of evidence was produced, and ultimately the majority 
of the Commission made a report which, upon the whole, was 
unfavourable to the Fair Traders. Lord Randolph Churchill felt 
himself bound to abide by the decision of the main body of the 
Ckjmmission ; and, consequently, in the following speech, he adopted 
a line more hostile to the policy of placing duties on imported goods 
than that which he had taken at Blackpool and other places. It 
ought to be stated that the two gentlemen specially referred to in 
this speech advocated nothing more than a system under which 
moderate duties could be laid on fully manufactured foreign goods 
for revenue purposes.] 

THE Irish leaders, you must recollect, have declared in Ireland 
and in Parliament that by every means in their power they 
will make the government of Ireland impossible, that they will 
prevent the Government responsible to the Imperial Parliament 
at Westminster from governing Ireland ; and they are actively 
aided and abetted in that policy by the members of the Radical 
party, and also they receive support from Mr. Gladstone himself. 
Why ? Because, obviously, if the Irish can succeed in making 
the government of Ireland impossible, in breaking down the 
government of Ireland, and in breaking down with it the 
Government of the Unionist party, then Mr. Gladstone will 
come before the country, and he will point to the complete 
breakdown of the Government; he will declare that all his 
prophecies had been fulfilled, and he will possibly, he thinks, 


obtain from the people of England a perfectly free hand — without 
any declaration of policy beforehand, without any explanations 
in detail he will obtain a perfectly free hand for his project of 
setting up two Parliaments and two Governments in the United 
Kingdom. The policy is obvious and plain, and you must be 
on your guard against it, and you must not attach too much 
importance to these incidental struggles which have taken place, 
and which possibly will take place, between the police and the 
people of Ireland. They are mere incidents in the great struggle 
which is going on in Ireland, on the fate of which order depends 
not only in Ireland but in your own country — the great struggle 
between lawlessness and law, between anarchy and order. 

There are some people in this country, not necessarily hot 
partisans, but people of a sentimental and rather weak turn of 
mind, who are always very much shocked and horrified when a 
collision takes place between the people and the forces of the 
Executive Government, and they carry their sentimentality to 
such an extent that they appear to be under the impression 
that whenever disorder is threatened the police should give way, 
and should not attempt to quell the disorder ; that under no 
circumstances whatever should the police and the people ever 
come into collision. I might point out that the logical result 
of the definite acceptance of a policy of that kind would be that 
we might just as well do away with the police altogether, and 
save ourselves a great deal of expense. But I should like to 
bring to your notice some examples of what goes on in America, 
where these opinions are not held as to the iniquity of quelling 
disorder by force. We know that America is a country of 
perfect freedom ; that we find in America the purest form of 
democratic government which you could well see. Well, I 
happened to be looking the other day over an account of some 
riots which took place in New York in the year 1863. These 
riots, curiously enough, were Irish riots ; and what is still 
more curious is that, I believe, strictly speaking — speaking 
from the strictly legal point of view — the Irish were justified 
in protesting against the action of the Government which led 
to the riot. What took place was this: the President of the 
United States, in order to carry on the war, called for an extra 


levy of soldiers from the population. I believe that that act 
on his part was unconstitutional — he certainly did something 
which was perfectly unconstitutional. He sent the Provost- 
Marshal of the United States to go into the city of New York 
to superintend the levy himself. This sending one of the 
Government officers into the territory of a State which for all 
State purposes was independent of the Federal Government 
could only be justified by the great law of public safety. The 
population of New York submitted to that forced levy, all ex- 
cept the Irish, and the Irish protested ; not only protested but 
rioted ; and for four days the city of New York was in posses- 
sion of a riotous Irish crowd, and a quantity of property was 
destroyed, and many lives were lost. And then the United 
States Government thought they would act. So they sent some 
troops to New York ; they did not think the police were quite 
strong enough, and the troops came into the town, and this is 
bow the action of the troops is described by a person who wrote 
in account of that riot : l The troops were commanded by 
Captain Putnam, and Captain Putnam placed his guns in posi- 
aon and swept the street with canister, which soon cleared it. 
Bodies lay thick on the pavement, and in the course of five days 
>ver 1,200 Irishmen were killed, and the lesson has not had to 
je repeated in New York.' Therefore, you see our friends in 
Lmerica are not squeamish about restoring order when they 
hink it is threatened. But there is another story told about 
jrish riots at that time. There were riots in Pennsylvania. 
Phe police were to some extent overpowered, so General Grant 
ent General Sheridan into Pennsylvania with troops, and the 
fcory goes that General Grant sent for General Sheridan before 
te started, and said, c Have you plenty of grapeshot ? ' General 
Sheridan said that he had, and General Grant said, c Then you 
eqaire no more instructions.' You may say, ' Well, that was a 
yng time ago, and under the pressure of a great civil war/ So 
fc was, but the Americans proceed in exactly the same way at 
he present day in that purely democratic country where perfect 
reedom is supposed to prevail, and is looked upon as the high- 
st of all objects. I saw in 4 The Times ' on the 2nd of this 
nonth that a meeting had been announced to take place in 
VOL. II. s 


New Jersey to protest against the sentence of death passed upon 
seven Socialists at Chicago. What followed is described in 
Heuter's telegram — c The police were, however, forewarned, and 
one hundred and fifty constables occupied the hall where the 
meeting was to be held ' — in order to do what Mr. Gladstone 
decided the English Government had no right to do — 'to 
prevent the meeting being held.' That was the action of the 
American police. They would not allow a meeting to be held, 
called for the purpose of sympathising with men who had been 
condemned to death. Why ? Because the meeting was likely 
to disturb order. However, let us go on. 'The Socialists, 
being infuriated at this, made a rush upon the police, some of 
them being armed with knives. The police used their clubs 
and wounded many of their assailants, and it is feared fatally, 
and finally succeeded in getting possession of the hall and 
in preventing the meeting.' That shows pretty well that the 
American people perfectly understand that you cannot trifle 
with lawlessness, especially in a country where there are large 
and practically unlimited democratic institutions. Everybody 
in America is expected to do what apparently nobody is ex- 
pected to do in Ireland, and that is to obey the law. The 
New York Legislature and other American legislatures are very 
fond of passing resolutions sympathising with the disturbers of 
order in this country, but when similar elements begin to work j 
in their own they alter their ideas. Then the police begin to 
use their clubs, and the military begin to get their rifles into 
that position which shocks Mr. Gladstone as being so terrible 
What is going on in Ireland affects our own country al 80 - 
Look at the state of things in London just now. Day after &*$ 
the traffic of London is impeded. Day after day the order ° 
London is disturbed by persons who have been taught by 3* r ' 
Gladstone that all interference by the police is an impertinea^ e " 
The disorders of London have become aggravated since t^*** 

1 Referring to disorderly meetings in Trafalgar Square, which occasic*** 
gnat annoyance and loss to the tradespeople of the district, and kept a 1^** 
part of London in a state of uneasiness and turmoil. In the midst of t& . 
events, Mr. Gladstone made some adverse criticisms on the police, which %^ 
much resented throughout the country. m 


speech which Mr. Gladstone delivered to the deputation at 
Kidderminster, and the duties of the police have become in- 
expressibly more difficult and more dangerous than they were 
before ; and the police have been denounced by Mr. Gladstone 
as acting illegally and as being impertinent. I happened to 
come across a quotation yesterday from a speech made by Mr. 
Gladstone's own Home Secretary in the year 1883 about the 
police ; and to show you how Mr. Gladstone has been changed 
by his alliance with the revolutionary party of Mr. Parnell, I 
will just read what the Home Secretary of that day, only four 
years ago, said about the police. He said : ' The first line of 
defence that we have is the police, and I hope I may pay my 
tribute to the splendid service which the police, not only in 
the metropolis, but also in the provinces, and in Ireland, have 
rendered to the cause of society.' Not to the Government — not 
to the party, bnt to the cause of society, said the Home Secre- 
tary ; but in spite of that — in spite of those splendid services 
which were rendered by the police — Mr. Gladstone has allowed 
himself, for party and political purposes of by no means a high 
order, to hold up the police, as it were, to the condemnation, 
and even worse than the condemnation, of the people of this 

I wish to occupy your attention for a few moments on a 
matter which I think is of interest to the people of this country. 
I allude to the condition of British trade. I glanced at this 
subject the other night at Sunderland, but I did not go at all 
-deeply into it for want of time. I see that my remarks with 
regard to the policy of protection have incurred the censure of 
» leading member of the Protectionist party (Mr. Henry Chap- 
lin), and I am anxious to go more fully into the matter than I 
was able to go into it at Sunderland the other night. Nobody can 
take part in English public life at the present moment without 
being deeply impressed every day that he lives with the serious 
condition of British manufacture and agriculture, with the con- 
nuance of the depression which has for years aWfcted those two 
8 r eat branches of industry, and with the very slender hopes and 
*4?t*8 of any speedy amelioration. But the fact that British 
* r *de is depressed and that British agriculture is critically 

8 2 


affected, and the fact that there are no signs that reasonable 
people can rely upon of any immediate revival, ought to put us 
exceedingly on our guard against the adoption of rash remedies 
that are proposed for the cure of this depression. I dare say 
there are many Fair Traders in this hall, and I would like 
to argue a little with them this evening. In the first place, 
let me allude to what Mr. Chaplin said about my remarks 
at Sunderland. I said that low prices of the necessaries of 
life and political stability in a democratic Constitution were, 
I believed, closely connected or inseparable. Mr. Chaplin dis- 
agrees with that altogether, and says, How can you prove that 
you had not political stability twelve or fourteen years ago, 
when prices were much higher ? and have you greater political 
stability now than you had then ? and is there greater political 
stability in Ireland than you had at that time ? Now I cannot 
go into the question of Ireland, because Ireland is affected by 
special causes which altogether render it valueless for trade 
examination. But with regard to twelve or fourteen years 
ago, when prices, as Mr. Chaplin says, were high, the fact is 
this, that twelve years ago prices were higher than they are now, 
but they were low relatively to the wages which were then 
earned ; and that is my point with regard to low prices now — 
that the wages are lower than they were twelve years ago, that 
the profits of business are less, and yet that the prices of the 
necessaries of life are lower than they were twelve years ago. 
That is my point ; but let us go back a little. Let us go back 
to times when, I hold, you had no political stability, and when 
you had high prices of the necessaries of life and low wage©. 
Let us go back to the time at the close of the great war. F <$ 
many years after the close of the great war you had high prides 
of the necessaries of life and low wages, a very miserable cc^^* 
dition of the labouring and artisan portion of the communL. ~t}' 
and certainly no political stability. The masses of the peo^__j3^ 
were kept down by the sheer force and strength possessed ^ 

the Government of the day ; and we do not call that politi — &■ 
si ability. I go to another period, the period before the rep^^ a ' 
of the Corn Laws, and there again you had high prices of ~^zhe 
necessaries of life and low wages ; and I cannot think you fcmaa 


much political stability at that time. The fact which proves 
you had no political stability at the time is that Sir Robert 
Peel, the leader of the Tory party, a man pledged to Protection 
by all the acts of his life and by the process by which he had 
got into power — Sir Robert Peel saw there was so little political 
stability in the financial position of the day that he threw over 
his party, and was even charged with having betrayed it. He 
abolished the Corn Laws and introduced corn into the country 
free of duty. I quote that to show that my argument about 
low prices of the necessaries of life and political stability in a 
democratic Constitution is strengthened if you look back to the 
two periods to which I have referred. Have we political stability 
now that we have these low prices which Mr. Chaplin says are 
such a terrible disadvantage? I say we have. What is my 
proof of it ? I find this the greatest and most practical proof. 
The Tory party is in office and the Tory party is undoubtedly 
the party of political stability, and when the Tory party is sup- 
ported by the great portion of the masses of the people I hold 
that you have political stability. What have you got now ? 
You have in the great towns of England, in the great towns in 
the North, and in the towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and 
particularly in London — marvellously displayed in London — 
enormous volumes and enormous masses of the people, of the 
labouring people, who faithfully range themselves behind and 
support the Tory party. That is the state of things at the 
present day. What do you suppose would have been the state 
of things before the repeal of the Corn Laws if you had had in 
those days an election on the same franchise as you have now ? 
I do not suppose in those days, under such circumstances, before 
the repeal of the Corn Laws, when prices of the necessaries of 
life were high and wages low, there would have been one-fourth 
port of the House of Commons supporting the Tory party. 
"There is the difference between what I call political stability and 
political instability. I find you have now in this country, at 
«i period of low prices, an immense portion of the population 
deeply attached to the Constitution, and I am certain you would 
:not have had that portion so pronounced and so in favour of the 
Constitution at the time to which I have referred, when prices 


were high and wages were low. Mr. Chaplin further said that 
the Royal Commission had reported that the present depression 
of trade was due to low prices. That is not accurate. It is dis- 
tinctly inaccurate. What the Commission reported was that 
the depression of trade was due to over-production (a very 
different thing), and that over-production causes low prices; 
and it is not at all correct to say that the Commission singled 
out low prices and said they were the cause of the depression 
of trade. The Commission singled out the main cause as 
over-production, and that is another important fact to bear in 
mind. But, passing over that side of the argument, let us come 
to the great remedy that is preached to us for the depression of 
trade ; and let us examine it quietly this evening. 

What is Fair Trade ? I have never been able to get a 
definition of it. I have several friends who are Fair Traders ; 
my two great friends, Lord Dunraven and Mr. Jennings, the 
member for Stockport, are Fair Traders. I have never been able 
to get at what they mean by Fair Trade. What does it mean ? 
Does it mean an ad valorem duty on foreign manufactures 
alone, or does it mean an ad valorem duty on foreign manufac- 
tures together with duties on raw material and food imported 
from abroad ? Because there is an essential and vital difference 
between the two things. If it means only an ad valorem duty 
on foreign manufactures, then I am against it. I am against it 
from a party point of view. What would take place if the 
Tory party advocated an ad valorem duty on foreign manufac- 
tures ? That would happen to us which happened to us from 
other causes in 1885. We should win the boroughs and we 
should lose the counties ; because nothing will persuade me that 
the country population will acquiesce in a policy of allowing tbtf 
manufacturing interest in the towns to put on protective dutA** 
which will make manufactured articles dearer to them to bfc^S' 
unless they are to get a corresponding benefit for their own p:^^ 
ductions. I say that if Fair Trade means an ad valorem dutjr ( 
foreign manufactures I am against it, because I think such^^ 
policy would greatly injure, possibly even ruin, the Tory par**"* 

But does it. mean besides an ad valorem duty on foreign man ^ 

factures — and this is a question to which I must have an ansm 


from somebody of position in the country who advocates Fair 
Trade ; they always shirk it — does it mean an ad valorem duty 
on foreign manufactures combined with duties on foreign im- 
ports of raw materials and foreign imports of food ? Does it 
mean that ? Let us take the imports of food. It is no use 
patting a duty on these imports for the purpose of benefiting 
the farmer unless your duty is of such a kind and such a nature 
as to raise the price which the farmer can get for his corn. 
That is quite clear, is it not? I should see no harm in a 
shilling duty on wheat. We had a shilling duty on wheat till 
within the last ten years, and it produced a very respectable sum 
of money, and I believe a shilling duty on wheat at the present 
moment would produce over a million a year, and it certainly 
could not by any possibility affect the price of bread. But that 
duty would do no good to the farmers. What the farmers want 
is a duty which shall make the cultivation of wheat profitable 
to them. Then what sort of duty will it be, must it be, to raise 
wheat to that price ? What is the price generally admitted to 
be profitable to the farmer for the cultivation of wheat ? Forty- 
five shillings a quarter. (A Voice : * Forty shillings.') Forty — 
on certain land possibly you might not be able to grow wheat 
profitably at forty shillings a quarter. (A Voice : ' Forty-eight.') 
There seems to be a difference of opinion. It is an average 
between forty shillings and fifty shillings. What the farmer 
wants is such a duty as will raise the price of wheat from 
twenty-eight shillings, where it stands now, to some figure 
between forty shillings and fifty shillings. Now, is that what 
the Fair Traders advocate ? That is what I want to know ; 
because if they do, I want to know what evidence there is of 
any great national demand for such a duty on wheat. That is 
a very important matter. The Tory party, Mr. Disraeli once 
said, would be nothing unless it was a national party. A 
national party must, I suppose, have a national policy. I can 
quite understand that there are certain lines of policy which it 
would be the duty of the Tory party to resist to the last, even if 
an overwhelming majority of the nation advocated those lines 
of policy — lines of policy such as would alter the Constitution of 
this country, or lines of policy which would shake the rights of 


property. I can quite understand that the Tory party ought 
to resist such a policy even if the nation demanded it by 
an overwhelming majority, even if by so resisting they were 
excluded from office for years. But with this financial question 
I find no such necessity. The Tory party are under no disability 
with regard to a change of fiscal policy. They are not responsible 
for the repeal of the Corn Laws ; they always protested against 
the repeal of the Corn Laws. Therefore, if there was a great, 
strong national demand for a recurrence to a system of protec- 
tion which should involve a duty on food, which would have the 
effect of making food higher in price to the people, I see nothing 
whatever to prevent the Tory party yielding to such a national 
demand. At any rate, for my own part, if I saw such a national 
demand, I should not think it my duty to offer an obstinate 
or a prejudiced resistance. But where is the national demand? 
I have put before you what the nature of the duty must be, 
and I want to know where is the national demand ? Where 
art* the great mass meetings held in favour of a duty on corn ? 
I have not heard of one. Where are the petitions to Par- 
liament in favour of a duty on corn? I have not seen one. 
Where is the instance in which a man of Parliamentary position 
supported by large numbers of followers has got up and advo- 
cated a duty on corn ? There has never been one in my time 
(A Voice : ' Lowther.') Mr. Lowther? I think I am right in 
saying this, that Mr. Lowther has never advocated in the House 
of Commons the imposition of a duty on corn high enough 
to make the cultivation of corn profitable to the British farmer. 
Never — 1 am certain of it ; and I am certain that if he did 
there is hardly oik* man in the House of Commons who would get 
up and agree with him. But there I have made my point, 
that if Fair Trade means an ad valorem duty on manufactures, 1 
am against it, because it would benefit one portion of the country 
at the expense of the other. If it means a general return to t\& 
imposition all round of high duties on foreign imports, I s^J» 
before I make one step in that direction, I must have distil* *' 
and clear and forcible evidence of a national demand for suct^ ft 
policy. What do my friends the Fair Traders say to that? 

But I will go a little Jarther. Let us assume that we h^^ ve 


a great national demand — an unmistakable demand. I have one 
criticism to make. It would be the most tremendous confession 
by a nation, not only of failure but of commercial weakness, 
which I can conceive. Can we afford as a nation to make such 
a confession as that, unless we are absolutely certain in our own 
minds that the remedy will make us better off than we were 
before ? Can a great nation afford to confess, not only that it 
has made a great mistake, but that that mistake has nearly 
rained it? That is a matter worthy of your consideration. 
It is a question of credit. You may say it is sentimental; 
yon may say that when you have made a mistake you had 
better confess it and repair it as soon as you can ; but it 
is an objection which is worthy of consideration, and certainly 
such a confession as that of national weakness and national 
failure ought not to be made except on the clearest and most 
certain ground that the policy you are going to recur to will 
make you stronger than before. But I proceed to another ques- 
tion which I put to Fair Traders. Can the Fair Traders prove 
simply, and in a manner intelligible to the people at large, that 
France, Austria, and Germany — countries where there are high 
protective duties — are more flourishing and more prosperous 
than we are ? Can they prove it ? It is no use saying to me, 
as I noticed a Sheffield paper said . the other day, c Go to 
America or New South Wales.' I will not go to America, and 
I will not go to New South Wales. There is not the smallest 
analogy between those countries and England. America is a 
self-contained country, and almost everything she requires for her 
people she can produce in abundance. We cannot. We have 
more people than we can feed ; and not only for food, but for 
our manufactures, we depend on raw material imported from 
abroad. Therefore, I decline to go to America or New South 
'Wales ; but I would go to European countries — France, Ger- 
many, Austria — and 1 want to know whether the Fair Traders can 
prove, or undertake to prove, that the people of those countries 
^ure more prosperous than ours. I believe not. I have read the 
^reports of our consuls from Paris, and also from Berlin, and 
"those reports go to show that protection, so far from being a 
ltenefit to the French and Germans, has been a burden. Of 


course it is only tho opinion of a consul, but it is the opin 
an official — an opinion which throws upon the Fair Trad 
the country the duty of showing that the consul is wron 
that protection has been a benefit to France and Germany, 
question I want to ask is, whether European protected coi 
are more prosperous than ours. I have another questio: 
this question ought to be answered before Fair Trade is < 
much further. No doubt at the present moment British in 
is cramped and hampered and handicapped by the fortific 
of customs duties which foreign countries have erected 
their territories. There is no doubt about that, and it is c 
true that, in spite of that fortification, an enormous aim 
British manufactures filter through these fortifications ir 
countries protected. Foreign countries do not mind that 
on to a certain extent, because they realise the advantages 
they reap from the possession of the free market in En 
But suppose that we in England were to clap on high pro 
duties on foreign imports, would not the situation be then a 
and would not foreign countriea then proceed with a \k 
retaliation and put on higher protective duties than the 
now. thereby keeping out that margin of British impo 
which now flows over their protective barrier? That is 
considering, because, if they did, and importation was 
and for ever checked into foreign protected countriea 
not see that we should be any better off for protection 1 
home. It is quite true we should have gained the con 
the home market, but we should have lost a large amc 
our foreign exportation. 1 want this question answered. 
would be the effect of foreign retaliation upon the at 
by (Jreat Britain of protective duties? And I want a 
question answered: 1 want to know, if you adopt prot 
what will you do with India? That is an important l 
India is financially embarrassed. The Indian Governmei 
great difficulty in raising a revenue sufficient for its wa 
account mainly of the depreciation of silver, and the 
(Jovcrnment is embarra>sed because you do not allow the 
(iovernmeiit to put protective duties on articles of Indian 
tact ure. 1 ndia is your great free market. Kvery kind of 


goodi flows into India without the* smallest obstacle, and ' the 
possession of India is of incalculable value on that account to 
the British working-man. But what I want to know is this. 
Seeing that India is financially embarrassed owing to the fact 
that yon have not allowed her to put on protective duties for the 
protection of her industries, suppose you resort to protective 
duties for the protection of English industries, can you in common 
decency or justice — can you without most dreadful injustice- -pre- 
vent India from putting protective duties on her own manufac- 
tures in order to keep out your competing article ? That is a 
most important point. India has an industry which thrives in 
spite of British imports into India — the cotton industry. But 
suppose that India claimed to put a heavy protective duty on 
importations of English cotton in order to protect her own 
cotton industry, and in reply to your having put a heavy import 
duty on Indian corn, I want to know how you are going to say 
c JNo ' to her. The nation cannot afford to act unjustly — not 
iup mth injustice so great as that would be if you said ' No.' And 
nmjypose India herself put a heavy protective duty on the im- 
p^>Tt of English cotton, I want to know what the population of 
I **MCftshire and Yorkshire are going to say ? I think they 
l^auld have something to say to their main market for their 
Produce being taken away from them. I want to know how 
tla« Fair Traders would propose to treat India in the event of 
<**Ur recurring to protective duties in England. Again, I think 
r*>u will get into a difficulty with Ireland. It would be very 
^flicalt indeed to refuse to Ireland protective duties for Irish 
****lo8trie8 in the event of your having put on protective duties 
„ far English industries. And if you are to have protective duties 
****" Irish industries, and protective duties for British industries, 
w **e*e is our commercial unity ? I think you will admit that 
™*^Be are questions which the Fair Traders ought to answer, and 
w *Uch they ought to deal with ; and they ought not to attack and 
^^y ought not to get angry with people of perhaps their own 
P**ty who differ from them, but do not differ from them in an 
UlI friendly way, but who wish to be convinced — who are not like 
^^ deaf adder, which stops its ears and won ? t be charmed. I 
**** quite ready to be charmed, only at the present moment the 


music of the Fair Traders is so discordant that I can't be charmed. 
I certainly am no fanatical adherent of the Cobden school. I 
came into political life long after the school ceased to have any 
practical existence. I am no fanatical adherent of theirs, and, 
moreover, having been for a short time at the Exchequer, and, 
therefore, naturally having an interest in financial and revenue 
matters, I cannot but feel that any Chancellor of the Exchequer 
would be glad enough to raise revenue by customs duties, if lie 
was certain that such a mode of raising revenue was fairly 
economical, safe, and popular — that is to say, acquiesced in by 
all classes of the community. But what the Fair Traders hare 
got to show us is not only that it would be safe, would be satis- 
factory in the present state of England, that it would bring back 
prosperity ; they have got to show us more — they have got to 
show that the great bulk of the nation are with them ; and they 
cannot expect that any man in his senses, who occupies any 
position whatever of responsibility in politics, would consent to 
abandon what is undoubtedly the safe ground of the present 
arrangement, and what is probably the advantageous and 
beneficial ground of the present arrangement, in spite of large 
drawbacks and disadvantages — they cannot expect any sober, 
sensible person to abandon that ground unless they prove in the 
most clear and most unmistakable manner that the ground he 
is going to take up is stronger than the ground which he leaves. 
We must recollect — and I think Fair Traders should recollect, 
— that interests of the most vital character are committed to the 
charge of the Tory party. The guardianship of the Monarchy 
of the hereditary Chamber ; the connection between Church an** 
State ; the rights of property, order and law, are all committ^ 4 ^ 
to the guardianship of the Tory party. And we cannot, andr>~* 
man of responsibility would, risk the whole of those interest- 
on what, after all, might only amount to the mere turn of 
card or to the mere cast of a die. 



Stockport, December 16, 1887. 

[A portion only of this speech is reprinted here.] 

IE general sense of the country seems to me to have turned 
markedly in a Unionist direction, and you can see by the 
rade of the two parties that that is so. The Unionists at the 
ent moment, so far from being disheartened, are jubilant. 
Repealers at the present moment, so far from being jubilant, 
lespondent. I dare say you noticed in the papers this morn- 
that Mr. Gladstone wrote a letter to a gentleman where he 
ad of the Unionist cause as in every way a failing cause, 
are on earth does Mr. Gladstone get his information as to the 
se of politics in this country ? Was the Unionist cause a 
ag cause in Dulwich, a large and representative constituency 
he metropolis ? Was it a failing cause in North Hunting- 
thire, a representative agricultural county ? l Where does 
nd that the Unionist cause is everywhere a failing cause ? 
ild he find it here if he were present on this platform, see- 
the thousands of people before him representing this great 
nfacturing town ? It is a most curious thing how liable to 
r Mr. Gladstone seems recently to have become. It has been 
by the poet that 

The evening of life gives a mystical lore, 
And coming events cast their shadows before. 

those lines obviously do not apply to the hermit of Hawarden 
le. It is a most curious thing. Mr. Gladstone is an old man 
d in the service of his country. But this is most remark- 
, that though he is old in experience, and old in years, the 

Two recent elections in these constituencies had resulted in Conservative 
ries — in Dolwich by a majority of 1,412; in North Huntingdonshire by 


older he becomes the wronger and wronger he becomes — bad 
grammar, perhaps, the use of that comparative, but I think it 
expresses best the present character of Mr. Gladstone's state- 
ments. It is, further, most curious that his predictions and his 
prophecies as to coming events, which used to take two or three 
years in being falsified, now only take two or three weeks in the 
process. Since the close of the session the position of the two 
parties, the Unionist party and the Repeal party, has been 
completely altered ; and I will give you one proof of it. Look 
at the position and attitude of the Liberal Unionist party. We 
all know what we owed to the Liberal Unionist party at the 
last election. They gave us most loyal support, and by their 
aid we undoubtedly won many seats ; but at the beginning of 
the year the position of the Liberal Unionist party was a doubtful 
position. Negotiations were going on of a formal and official 
character for their reconciliation with Mr. Gladstone and his 
immediate following, and no one could quite tell at the begin- 
ning of the year what would be the result of these negotiations. 
What is the position now ? Why, the leader of the Liberal 
Unionist party the other day, speaking in London to a con- 
siderable gathering of his followers, told them that all hopes 
of reconciliation with the Repeal party must be finally aban- 
doned, and that, at any rate so far as the next general election 
is concerned, which may be three or four years off, the alliance 
of the Liberal Unionist party with the Tory party would 
continue and would hold good for all purposes. That is a gre^ 
fact. The developed attitude of the Liberal Unionist party * 
take to be the cardinal feature of the recess. You may ha ve 
noticed in the papers that in France they talk a great A^ 
about republican concentration; and though they talk a gr*?*^ 
deal about it they do not seem to attain it. We have be ett 
occupied since the beginning of the year in what we may te** 111 
' Unionist concentration/ and we have achieved in the worl£ 8 
remarkable and undeniable measure of success. 

Why should the Unionists be jubilant and the Repeals* 8 
despondent ? I think I can show you. It has often been urg*^ 
against Mr. Gladstone that he adopted the policy of repeal ^ 
order to gain the Irish vote and to maintain himself in office* 

THE SrfBEN&TH OF THE tfNlON £Ab!T? 271 

d be the last person in the world to think it necessary to 
j that proposition. It is quite possible that motives of that 
lay have weighed upon him ; but in political discussion, if 
n, it is as well to attribute to your adversary the best 
a ; and therefore let us, for the sake of argument, attribute 
. Gladstone the best motive in adopting the policy of 
I. What was the main plank in the platform of the Repeal 
* It was this — the impossibility, as they hold, of govern- 
»land under a Parliamentary union. They were persuaded, 
ced beyond the power of argument or reason, of that 
ability ; in fact they all found salvation in the comfortable 
ion that Ireland was ungovernable, and they said it and 
. it here and there and everywhere, in public and private, 
rliament and on the platform, that the Unionists would 
id must fail, in maintaining peace in Ireland, in maintaining 
curity of life and property, and in maintaining the due 
lent of obligations and the due discharge of contracts in 
ountry. They also said the Unionists would fail in carry- 
i the business of the nation in Parliament on account of 
pposition of the Irish party. They declared that the 
lal League in Ireland and in Parliament would be too 
j for all the forces which the Unionist party could bring 
it them, and on that they based their cardinal proposition 
b was impossible to govern Ireland under the Parliamentary 
i. Have those assertions been borne out ? The National 
le was a very formidable organisatiou — perhaps the most 
lable which the British Government has ever had to deal 
-but it was only formidable as long as you were afraid of 
lo long as from one political cause or another the British 
anient was unable to tackle the National League, so long 
eague was formidable. I was always certain the day would 
when we should have to try conclusions with the National 
le in Ireland. I knew the struggle would be sharp and 
, and would involve great controversy. Therefore I was 
as that the struggle, if it must come, should come later 
ps than sooner, and I did not want in any way to pre- 
te it ; but I never had the slightest doubt that the moment 
hritish Government chose to measure itself against the 


National League the British Government would put down 
the League and all its organisation and peculiar methods of 
working. And what is the position of the National League 
now ? The Government has measured itself with the League, 
it has procured extra powers from Parliament in the shape of 
exceptional criminal procedure for dealing with the League, that 
most baneful organisation in Ireland. And what is the condition 
now of the National League ? The condition of the National 
League in Ireland at the present moment reminds me very much 
of one of those white, pasty, inconsistent puddings that you see 
sometimes in a pastrycook's shop — I think they call it ' blanc- 
mange/ It is a pudding that is always toppling over on this 
side or on that, unable to stand up, and threatening to fall and to 
go to pieces and to dissolve with every draft of air or passing 
shock from the outside world. The National League is dis- 
tinctly on the wobble. Some of its leaders are in prison iu 
Ireland for having broken the law. A few of its leaders are i* 1 
hiding, and they are angry with the police because the poli<^ e 
will not take the trouble to look for them; and others of tho*^^ 
leaders — the most prominent of them — have, with a gre*-^* 
amount of worldly prudence, sought for comfort and securr^^ 
in this country by addressing Radical gatherings in differed 1 - 1 
towns. Mr. Gladstone the other day declared that the state ^^ 
Ireland was getting worse every day. Upon what evidenc—-^ 
does Mr. Gladstone come to such a conclusion? Compare tb 
state of Ireland now with the state of Ireland at this time '. 
year. At the present moment in Ireland criminals — real crim^^" 
nals, not political offenders, but people who were actually con- — ■*" 
eerned in the commission of real, genuine crime — are bein^^^ 
brought before legally constituted tribunals, and are being con -—'" 
victed, punished, and sent to prison with or without hard labour" : * 
This time last, year it was hardly possible to secure the convic- — 
tion of a single criminal in Ireland on any charge directly o:^- connected with the agrarian question. Is that de "*" 

terioration, or is it an improvement in the state of Ireland^- ' 
J fin any society criminals are being convicted and punished fo^" ** 
crimes which a year before they committed with impunity, ha^s^^^ 
can you argue, as Mr. Gladstone does, that the state of thaP*" - * 


ociety is getting worse and worse ? But there is another fact 
rhich seems to have escaped Mr. Gladstone's attention altogether. 
dare say you recollect that this time last year we heard a 
peat deal about what was called the Plan of Campaign. The 
*lan of Campaign was an organisation by which the tenants 
tound themselves under no circumstances to pay their rents 
inless the payment of rent should appear to be convenient to 
he National Land League. You may recollect that the Plan 
if Campaign made an immense sensation. It was regarded 
y the Nationalist party as the most triumphant production of 
olitical science which had been vouchsafed to this centnry. 
Ve hear little about it now. I read the Irish news most care- 
illy, and I have not read of a single fresh estate in Ireland upon 
hich the Plan of Campaign has this winter been proclaimed. 
9 that a sign that the state of Ireland is getting worse and 
orse, as Mr. Gladstone stated ? Mr. Parnell, the leader of the 
rish party, and Mr. Dillon and others, towards the close of last 
38sion ventured to prophesy the most terrible winter for Ireland. 
"hey declared in accents which used to make your blood run 
aid and your hair stand on end, th$t there would be the most 
nrfdl outburst of crime and bloodshed in Ireland. They de- 
buted that social ruin would be manifested in Ireland in its 
tost appalling shape. Has that been the case ? On the con- 
^ary, over the greater part of Ireland you have complete tran- 
nillity. There has been nothing approaching to any justifica- 
on of the prophecies which were uttered: not even in the 
wwt disturbed districts— Kerry, Galway, and Clare. Although 
Mre have been occasional outrages of a shocking character, 
^ill there has been no such general systematic outbreak of crime 
* we have had experience of in recent years. Therefore, can 
on argue on that state of facts, as Mr. Gladstone does, that 
Heland is getting worse and worse ? No ; there is no doubt if 
on go to facts and figures, and are not carried away by emo- 
•on and fancy, the state of Ireland, so far from getting worse 
**«! worse, is under the influence of a great Parliamentary 
^jority, and, under a Government determined to enforce the 
*w, getting better and better. Therefore I come back to this 
°»at, that the great plank of the Repeal platform — namely, the 


impossibility of governing Ireland under the Union, has snapped 
in twain and broken down. Lord Granville compared the Liberal 
Unionists the other day to cherubim, because he said they had 
not king to sit upon. But I think the expression ' political 
cherubim ? is much more applicable to Mr. Gladstone and his 
followers, because the plank on which they sat, and on which 
they declared they would sit for ever, has broken in two and 
let them down into a morass of discomfiture and doubt. If that 
is so, that the principal assertion of the Repeal party has been 
utterly falsified in practice, is there any wonder that the Repeal 
party should be down on their luck and change their attitude of 
exultation for one of disappointment ? And is there any wonder 
they should sing very small when they do sing, and in a minor 
key, and are only able to sustain the song in notes of quavering 
rone? It is perfectly legitimate, perfectly right and proper, 
that we. Unionists, gathered together at this great meeting, 
-mould congratulate ourselves upon this state of things, and 
should allow ourselves a certain amount of exultation over the 
obvious defeat and disappointment of our opponents. But we 
must be careful not to carry that too far, and we must remember 
that moments of success are sometimes the moments which are 
the most dangerous to the successful. There is a terrible ten- 
dency when you are very successful to be off your guard. There 
is a temptation to take refuge in repose and to sink into inac- 
tion. We must strive, and w r e must take care that our leaders 
strive, against yielding to that temptation. We must recoil^ 
that the country expects great things of the Unionist party* 
The Unionist party have not only promised to the country* 
tranquillised Ireland under a Parliamentary union, but they 
have also promised to the country large and liberal legislation? 
and they have also promised to the country a reformed admini' 
stration, whether for imperial or local affairs; and these ai* 
promises which we must try to carry out. And we must use oft f 
success not for the purpose of merely contemplating the proud 
position we occupy, but as a means of advancing to a still moi* 
commanding position in the country. 

The next session, I hold, will be a critical session for tb 1 * 
Parliament. On the successes or failures of the Unio&i^ 


A session they will be narrowly judged, in all probability, 
xt general election. And therefore it is that I put in 
)f warning against indulging ourselves too much in 
a over our opponents ; and I put in a plea that we 
be always looking forward to the future and taking 
e of any success which we have at the present time, in 
grasp a future still more successful. It is for these 
hat I observe with satisfaction the attitude which the 
ent has taken on a question which, I hold, is second to 
question before the country — and that is the question 
ly in our administration and of retrenchment of our 
nd swollen public expenditure. I am gratified at the 
ffhich the Government have taken up on this question, 
in any way care to recall the recent parts taken by 
connection with this question. I do not wish to rake 
itterances of persons high in authority, who on the 
and in the press declared not only that retrenchment 
■acticable and impossible, but that, in fact, we ought 
more millions than we do already. I do not want to 
n variations on that most irritating and exasperating 
a in which friends will indulge in private life — c As 
[ was right ; I told you so ; I told you how it would 
> not want to say anything of that kind. I am quite 
3 take facts as they are, quite content with events as I 
1 ; and I think no impartial person can fail to see that 
it Government are anxious now to be an economical 
y Government. I do not know whether you are aware 
you would have to go back to the year 1 8G9, when 
ancial practices prevailed than do now, or did a short 
, to find ji year in which no supplementary estimates 
jented to Parliament for the Army and Navy. There 
tense evil attaching to supplementary estimates. They 
3 always avoided, but they ought to be kept within 
west and strictest limits. Parliament has a right at 
ning of the year to know what is required for the 
' the year, and if Parliament is afterwards told by 
»nt, ' We did not ask enough, and you must vote more/ 
3 obvious to you that the whole beneficial control of 



Parliament over the expenditure of the country is gone. Of 
late years the supplementary estimates for the Army and Navy 
have amounted to several hundred thousands of pounds, and 
now we are told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for the 
first time since 1 869, that no supplementary estimates will be 
presented for those two services. I attach importance to that 
statement, and I am happy to say that it does not stand by 
itself. 1 observe that the First Lord of the Admiralty the other 
day spoke — I forget exactly where — and said that not only 
would there be no supplementary estimates for the Navy, but 
there would be a substantial saving on the estimates already 
voted by Parliament for the Navy. It seems almost too good to 
be true, but still it is an official statement, and till it is dis- 
proved we may attach credence to it and build expectations 
upon it. But not only that : I have got hopes also of the other 
great spending department, the War Office. The condition of 
the War Office is such as would daunt the heart of the stoutest 
economist. But yet, although the circumstances are most 
difficult, still I hear on good authority of reforms being carried 
out in that department. I will not say, because I am not in a 
position to say, whether these reforms are wise and well-planned. 
But this fact remains, that there is a considerable activity in 
that department, a rummaging up of obsolete and inefficient 
administration ; and of this I am certain, that if these reforms 
which are now being considered and carried out are really wise 
and good reforms, they must result in an economy and saving 
of public money. But that is not all. The Secretary of the 
Treasury the other day stated in addressing his constituents 
that the actual saving upon the Civil Service estimates of this 
year {is compared with the year before had amounted to no less 
a sum than 270,000/. That would be a respectable saving on 
the Civil Service estimates, and I have little doubt, knowing 
what J do of the estimates and of the capacity of the Secretary 
to the Treasury, that he will be able to show Parliament simile 
savings for the coming year. Not only that, but we are d® 
informed on the authority of the Secretary to the Admiral 
that the estimates for the great department of the Navy will^ 
presented to Parliament next year for the first time in the histofj 


* the country in an intelligible form. What does that mean ? 

\ means this, that the Government will not ask Parliament for 

oney for which it cannot show sufficient reason and necessity. 

nd, lastly, there is very good reason for belief that the prin- 

ple, which I think was so beneficially and successfully asserted 

i the last session of Parliament, of referring the estimates to a 

elect Committee of the House of Commons— that that principle 

ill be applied next year more methodically and more exten- 

vely than it was applied in the past session. Therefore, on 

11 these grounds, I express my hope, regardless of all that 

Bussed a few months ago, that the present Government is deter- 

ined on economy. What does all this economy and this de- 

amination to pursue economy by the methods I have pointed 

it mean to the taxpayers in figures ? I will tell you how I 

dculate it myself, although it must be recollected that I do 

ofc command official knowledge. Still figures and facts are 

lade public by the departments, and it is open to anybody who 

as had any experience of these departments to make a calcula- 

:m ; and I calculate that the meaning of what I have been 

itting before you in figures comes to about this. If we take 

© account, in the first place, the admittedly abnormal character 

the naval and military expenditure for the last two years; if 

take into account, in the second place, the condition and the 

spects of the revenue ; if we take into account, in the third 

e, the very considerable saving already effected ; and if we 

into account, in the fourth place, the overhauling of public 

rtments now going on, and the abuses in these departments 

i are being brought to light — if we take all these matters 

vccount, I hold this, that the meaning of what I have put 

> you in figures comes to this, that the Chancellor of the 

quer in his Budget next April should have — I do not say 

ely that it will be so, but he ought to have, I hold — an 

■ed surplus for the year 1888-89 of between two and 

tillions of money, and amounting to nearer three millions 

r o. The Chancellor of the Exchequer can do a great 

h a surplus of between two and three millions of money, 

» not know anything that would bring greater credit on 

icellor of the Exchequer and his colleagues than to be 


able to present the country with a surplus of that amount — a 
surplus which should not have been adventitiously, by any un- 
expected chances, brought about, but a surplus which will have 
been effected mainly, if not entirely, by rigid economy in public 
administration. It is my hope and expectation that by the finan- 
cial year of 1889-90, the public expenditure of this country will 
have been reduced to an amount, as near as possible, to a little 
above or a little below eighty-five millions of money, or, in other 
words, a reduction of no less than five millions from the amount 
at which Mr. Gladstone bequeathed the public expenditure to 
his successors. This prospect, which I put before you, I know 
to be ;i justifiable and reasonable prospect, which is based on 
facts and on figures. And I rejoice over it exceedingly, for two 
reasons. My first reason is that I hold there is nothing more 
utterly wicked on the part of any Government than wasteful and 
improvident expenditure of public money. There is nothing 
more utterly abominable on the part of a Government than the 
unnecessary imposition of high taxes. The safety and stability 
of the nation depend not only upon the course of conduct which 
may be pursued by this party or by that, not upon political chances 
which change from day to day : the safety and stability of tie 
nation depend upon sound finance, and the alphabet of sound 
finance is economy in public expenditure. That is my first reason. 
J\Iy second reason is more of a party character. I am certain 
that nothing will tend to make the Unionist party and the 
Unionist Government more popular and more strong through- 
out the length and breadth of Great Britain than the existence 
of a conviction in the minds of the masses of the people that 
they are a truly economical and thrifty Government, and that 
they care above everything for the relief of the people from 
burdensome and oppressive taxation. I may sum up the general 
result of what I have endeavoured to put before you by saying 
that the rank and file of the Unionist party have done their part 
bravely in Parliament and in the country. They have worked 
and laboured and struggled as 1 think no party ever did before. 
and more can hardly be expected of them. Everything now 
depends upon her .Majesty's Government, and we may entertain? 
J think ; all confidence that our legitimate expectations with 


respect to their action will be amply gratified. All that is neces- 
sary now for the complete success of the Unionist party I hold 
to be that the Government should persevere resolutely in the 
task of repressing and curbing and keeping in check all those * 
elements of disorder and anarchy and sedition which have for 
so long distracted Ireland ; that the Government should persist 
steadfastly and patiently in their pursuit of the policy of retrench- 
ment and economy ; that the Government should produce at the 
opening of the session some large, liberal, well-considered, and 
statesmanlike measures of legislation with regard to the great 
matters in which a reformed Parliament and an enfranchised 
people must necessarily be deeply interested; and that the 
Government should carefully avoid all foreign entanglements, 
and should by no means become involved in any of those quarrels 
and disputes, apparently of a serious nature, which are disturb- 
ing European tranquillity. If such is the policy of the Govern- 
ment, and I believe that it is the policy of the Government, 
depend upon it, if we meet again next year, or when you meet 
again next year, after another session has gone by, you will be 
able to laugh at and deride all the efforts and all the devices of 
your opponents to upset you or to weaken you, and you may be 
certain that before long that rump of the Liberal party which 
has followed Mr. Gladstone will bitterly rue the day and curse 
the hour when they were persuaded by that statesman to fly the 
flag of Repeal, and to ally themselves and identify themselves 
'with that party in Ireland whose most cherished hope, whose 
most ardent longing, and whose highest ideal of human happi- 
ness is to be found in the ruin and in the destruction of the 
British Empire. 


Oxford Union, February 22, 1888. 

[The meeting at which the following speech was delivered was 
regarded with very great interest, not only at Oxford but through- 
out the country. Lord Randolph attended it at the special request 
of the members of the Oxford Union, about 800 of whom were 
present on the occasion. The resolution moved was in these terms : 
— That to satisfy the just aspirations of the Irish people, it is neces- 
sary that a statutory Parliament be forthwith established at Dublin. 
Mr. E. A. Nepean (University) opposed the resolution. The dis- 
cussion was continued by Mr. Cozens Hardy (New), Mr. Saunders 
(Balliol), and Mr. Murray (St. John's), and then by Lord Randolph 

I CAN assure you, sir, that I consider it to be a very great 
honour to have been permitted to assist as a spectator, and 
even more to have been called upon to take part as a debater, 
in the discussions of this celebrated and learned Society. I did 
not have the good fortune while I was at Oxford to take part in 
the debates, although it was my privilege to be a member of tie 
Society ; but I am glad that time and fortune have been kind 
enough to permit me to fill up a deficiency in my experiences 
which was to be regretted. While I thank you for having 
allowed me to listen to your debate, 1 would also thank you for 
the extremely courteous welcome which you have given me. 

Now. sir, I have listened to five speeches on a great ques- 
tion, and they appeared to me to be speeches of great and ecpd 
merit — speeches of great and equal promise. One thing pa*" 
ticularly pleased me. I observed that those three gentlemen, 
who adopted the views which I do not hold with regard to 
this subject, appear to have found their most effective armoury* 
their most resourceful arsenal for their most formidable weapon 


against their opponents in speeches which I have myself, at 
different places, delivered. I cannot but be flattered by the 
attention which they have paid to those speeches, nor did I dis- 
cern, as is sometimes the case when former speeches are quoted 
against me, in the quotations made, any expressions of opinion 
which I should in any way at the present moment repudiate or 
be ashamed of. One extract from my speeches was made by 
the first speaker, which I must notice — he attributed to me that 
I had designated the Irish people as foul fiends. He, I regret 
to say, has not studied the speeches, or the particular speech 
from which he professed to quote, with the accuracy and ability 
with which he has studied the Irish question ; because, if he had 
done so, he would have found that the persons so called were 
not the Irish people, but the class of persons best known as 
moonlighters and outrage- mongers, whom he himself very 
properly designated as * desperate ruffians/ I have never said, 
and I never will say, one word or utter one sentence to the 
discredit, or blame, or censure of the Irish people as a nation. 
I have lived among them much, I have travelled far and wide 
in Ireland, perhaps more than many Irishmen ; I have watched 
and known personally several of the Irish representatives in 
Parliament, and never have I consciously said one unfair word 
to bring discredit or disrepute upon Irish representatives, and 
never shall I do so. I have experienced always in Parliament 
from the Irish representatives the utmost courtesy and gene- 
rosity and indulgence, although on many occasions it has been 
my fate to be in sharp opposition to them. I do not propose 
this evening to follow in detail the interesting speeches to 
which you have listened, for several reasons, or at any rate for 
two. In the first place, because I should not like to undertake 
to deal offhand with the arguments which some of those 
speeches presented ; and, in the second place, it struck me that 
in the three speeches which were supposed to be delivered in 
Support of this motion, the motion itself did not sufficiently 
attract the attention of the speakers. When I had the honour 
of receiving the invitation of your president to take part in a 
debate in the Oxford Union, he informed me that I should be 
Required to address myself to the Irish question, and the debate 


to-night is entirely taken up with the Irish question. Before 
coining to the actual terms of the motion, let us for a moment 
consider what is the Irish question. It is extremely important 
that in these matters wo should closely analyse and examine 
the phrases we make use of. Now what is the Irish question? 
1 apprehend that all sections of opinion in the House will agree 
with me in this proposition — that the Irish question is like the 
poor : we have it always with us, and probably we always shall 
have it with us. The Irish question, as I define it, is the diffi- 
culty which we experience in governing Ireland, or, in other 
words, in obtaining in Ireland from our system of government 
the results which we obtain in Scotland and England. We have 
not yet obtained from our system of government in Ireland that 
amount of affection and reverence for the law, that amount of 
material prosperity among the people, and that amount of gene- 
ral contentment and tranquillity which we have obtained from 
our system of government in Scotland and England. That, I 
apprehend, is a correct definition of the Irish question. With 
regard to the motion, bearing in mind that definition, it is well 
the House should recollect that the Irish question was quite as 
acute during the years that Ireland had a Parliament as it has 
been since the time that Ireland has not had a Parliament. 
.During the term of the independent Irish Parliament, that is 
to say from 1782 till the Act of the Union, it would be a 
melancholy work to examine the number of Coercion Acts the 
Irish Parliament was forced to pass. The Irish question, ac- 
cording to my definition of it, was more acute even during the 
term of that Irish Parliament than it has been since ; so acute 
was it that Mr. Pitt had to deprive Ireland of the independent 
Parliament England had granted to the Irish people. That 
is the measure of the acuteness of this question at the time 
Ireland had a Parliament of her own. 

Here I must make a brief digression. We had some time 
ago, in a letter from the leader of the Repeal party, an expres- 
sion to the effect that Mr. Pitt's policy towards Ireland was 
a policy of blackguardism. 1 On that I would say, that if you 

1 In a letter to Mr. Leveson Gower, a Liberal Whip defeated in the elec- 
tions of 1886, Mr. Gladstone wrote : • I am amazed at the deadness of vulg** 


compare Mr. Pitt's policy in carrying the Union with Mr. 
Gladstone's policy in going in for Repeal, yon find this most 
remarkable difference — that Mr. Pitt, in carrying the Parlia- 
mentary Union, sought for no party advantage, nor was he 
obliged to seek for any party advantage. Mr. Pitt's position in 
Parliament at the time was as strong a Parliamentary position 
as a statesman possibly could have, and the bringing of the 
Irish members to the English Parliament certainly could not 
strengthen, possibly might weaken, that position. That was 
the position of Mr. Pitt, and I legitimately infer that he had 
but one single motive at heart, and that was the good of the 
two countries. But if I contrast the position of Mr. Pitt with 
that of the present leader of the Separatist party, I do not detect 
the same singleness of mind, because the latter knew as an 
undoubted fact that the support which he gave to the policy of 
Repeal was a support which, one way or another, would bring 
him, until his policy was carried, an addition of eighty-six votes 
to his Parliamentary strength. Therefore, when I am told to 
remember the blackguardism of the policy of Mr. Pitt, I can- 
not assent to that most remarkable substantive without closely 
examining the personal position of the present leader of the 
Liberal party. 

Since the Union the Irish question has assumed many 

forms, and has presented itself in many shapes to Parliament. 

From shortly after the Union down to 1829, the Irish question 

assumed the form of a demand for Catholic emancipation, and 

Catholic emancipation was at length conceded. But I canr.ot 

refrain from saying with respect to a great many men of both 

parties who opposed Catholic emancipation — that the ir.ain 

foundation of their opposition was that it would inevitably 

lead to the disestablishment of the Irish Church and to the 

Repeal of the Union. Were the fears of these men altogether 

Unfounded ? Catholic emancipation has certainly led to the 

disestablishment of the Irish Church, and if it has not led quite 

to the Repeal of the Union, it has certainly brought us rather 

Clear it. The Irish question, after Catholic emancipation was 

opinion to the blackguardism and baseness— no words are strong enough — 
'Which befoul the whole history of the Union.' 


granted, assumed a very acute form with regard to the payment 
of tithes, and at that period crime and outrage rose to a great 
height, and had to be repressed by the strongest Coercion Act 
that has ever been passed, the great feature in which was that 
the Lord Lieutenant might put the disturbed districts under 
martial law. We must never forget that the man who was 
Prime Minister when that Coercion Bill was passed was the 
Liberal statesman Lord Grey, who, only a. year before, had been 
instrumental in passing the great Reform Bill. The next form 
of the Irish question with which Parliament had to deal was 
the Repeal movement which was headed by Mr. O'Connell. 
The Repeal movement lasted some years and then disappeared, 
and the Irish question assumed the form of what I may call 
poliiical conspiracy. We had the rebellion — if it may be dis- 
tinguished by such a name — of Mr. Smith O'Brien. We had 
the conspiracy which was known by the name of the Phoenix 
conspiracy ; and another very formidable conspiracy, within the 
personal recollection of many here to-night, known as the 
Fenian conspiracy. That was the Irish question under the 
guise of political conspiracy, and Parliament dealt with the Irish 
question under that guise. Parliament then attempted to deal 
with the Irish question by what was known as heroic legislation, 
and you had two great Acts — the Disestablishment of the Irish 
Church, and an Act which attempted to meet the demands of 
those. who led the agitation in connection with Irish land at that. 
time. Then you had another form of the Irish question, which 
sprang up in the year 1873. You had the Home Rule move- 
ment of Mr. Butt, and the movement died away; and in 1879 
you had the Irish question in the form of the extremely advanced 
and socialistic land agitation under the auspices of Mr. Davitt, 
and that has been accompanied and succeeded by the Irish 
question in the form in which the House is now considering it 
— the demand for Home Kule as presented by Mr. Gladstone 
and Mr. Parnell. Now I have particularly gone over all those 
different forms of the Irish question — always asking you to hear 
in mind my original definition of that question — because I think 
it is important, for a right understanding of the subject with 
which this motion deals, that you should recall the history of the 


Irish question as it has been presented to ns in comparatively 
modern times. This motion only deals with one form of the 
Irish question, and there is no security whatever that, even if 
you were enabled to limit it within the scope of this motion, it 
would not again present itself in another form, so Protean is it 
in its nature. 

Let me ask your attention for a moment to the motion which 
has been moved so ably to-night. I think, in dealing with sub- 
jects of this kind — subjects, after all, on which the welfare of 
thousands and of millions depends — that we should carefully 
guard ourselves against loose phraseology; that we should 
beware of abstract resolutions; and that if we assent to an 
abstract resolution we should take care that it should be, if I 
may use the term, mathematically worded. Xow, what is the 
wording of this resolution ? May I be allowed to analyse it ? 
We are called upon to assent to a proposition that to satisfy 
the just aspirations of the Irish people it is necessary that a 
statutory Parliament be forthwith established in Dublin. I 
observed with pleasure that the gentleman who spoke second 
particularly fastened on an adjective which attracted my atten- 
tion — the adjective 'just.' What does that adjective mean? 
Is it an adjective of adornment, or is it intended to limit the 
subject to which it applies ? Because an immense deal turns 
upon that. Does the mover of the motion, or those who sup- 
ported him, mean by the just aspirations of the Irish people any 
aspirations of the Irish people? For instance, suppose the 
aspirations of the Irish people were for total separation. Would 
those be just aspirations? Now, the mover, as far as I can 
make out, avoided examining that adjective ; but are aspirations 
for an Irish Parliament on the part of the Irish people just ? 
Are they just with regard to the other two countries which 
form the United Kingdom ? Does England possess a Parlia- 
ment of her own? In my Parliamentary experience of thirteen 
years I have seen many purely English questions settled by 
Scotch or Irish votes. Does Scotland possess a Parliament of 
her own ? The answer is obviously ( No.' And in Parliament 
many Scotch questions are decided by English and Irish votes. 
But if Scotland and England do not possess Parliaments of 


their own, why should you assume that it is just that Ireland 
should possess such a Parliament ? But if the adjective 'just 1 
be, as I called it, an adjective of limitation — if it mean that 
you ought to try and satisfy those aspirations of the Irish 
jieople which are just — then the debate will occupy ground of 
a much less debatable character. But that was not the ground 
which the mover took up. Having adverted to the adjective 
c just/ I now come to another expression in this resolution, and 
1 may perhaps in passing praise the resolution. I think it is an 
admirable resolution for debating purposes, because it contains ^ 
within a very small compass more disputable propositions than _j 
any resolution which I have ever seen. I come to the expression ^^ 
in the resolution ' the Irish people,' and we are asked to sati sfy — 
the just aspirations of the Irish people. Now, are the move^rr- 
and those who supported this resolution prepared seriously tcr^ 
contend that the whole of the Irish people are animated lr^- 
similar aspirations? Because if they are not, obviously the ex- 
pression is a loose and inaccurate one, and instead of talking" 
about the Irish ])eople, surely they ought to have inserted the 
words " the majority of the Irish people/ But much turns upon 
that omission. If the Irish people were perfectly unanimous 
if they were of one nice and one creed, the difficulties of the 
Irish question would be much less than they are. But can 
any reasonable or practical man forget for one moment that in 
Ireland there is a large minority, certainly numbering one 
million out of four, and possibly numbering two millions out of 
four, in all probability numbering nearer two millions than one, 
who are diametrically and passionately opposed to the 'just' 
aspirations which are set forth in this resolution ? This is what 
really differentiates the claim of the Irish people, or the majority 
of the Irish people, for self-government from the claim of every 
other people in history who have obtained self-government or in- 
dependence. Let us take some of the instances which we know 
of nationalities having obtained self-government. Take the case 
of the Italians. Was there in Italy, when Italy fought lor her 
freedom and independence, a strong minority of Italians passion- 
ately devoted to Austrian domination ? Take the case of tfas 
Greeks. The Greeks obtained their independence. Was then 



imong the Greeks a strong minority passionately devoted to the 
•ale of Turkish pashas ? Take the case of the Bulgarians. Was 
Jiere a strong minority of the Bulgarians passionately devoted 
;o the rule of the Turkish pashas? In Italy, in Greece, in 
Bulgaria you had unanimity of national sentiment absolutely 
anbroken, and that was the great feature of the movement for 
lelf-government which took place in those countries. Can any- 
3ody seriously contend that you have anything approaching that 
lnanimity of national sentiment in Ireland at the present time ? 
Slow, come to the main example alluded to by one of the 
speakers — Austria-Hungary. We are often told that the Repeal 
>f the Union would be a successful policy in Ireland on account 
rf the great success a dual Parliament has had in the Empire of 
Austria-Hungary. There again there was, with regard to the 
claim of Hungary for a separate Parliament, absolute unanimity 
of national sentiment, although in Hungary a large portion of 
the population are of a totally different race and origin to the 
Magyar portion. Vet the whole people, the entire inhabitants 
of Hungary, were as one in demanding that Hungary should 
be governeckbV a Parliament of her own. A Parliament was 
conceded to Hungary, and undoubtedly a dual Parliament in 
Austria-Hangar}' has worked fairly well, so far as ordinary 
observers can see, up to the present moment. Why has it 
worked well ? It is agreed by all who are acquainted with the 
condition of those two countries that the mainspring, perhaps 
the only cause of its working well, is the loyalty and affection 
which the people of the two countries feel for the person of the 
Emperor. It is because the Emperor has deservedly gained the 
love and affection of Hungary and Austria, because of his per- 
sonal influence over those two countries, that the complicated 
arrangement has worked well. But the House should recollect, 
before drawing a too rapid inference from the case of Austria- 
Hungary, that the arrangement has yet to be tried by great 
national difficulties and crises. There is this also to be said 
when you who support this motion point triumphantly to the 
case of Austria-Hungary : you ought to be prepared to contend, 
if you want to make your example a crushing one, that Austria- 
Hungary would not have been a far stronger empire than she 


is, if it had been possible for her to have had one Parliaments j 
instead of two. 

It is perfectly obvious that it is impossible to agree to suef^ j t 
an expression as that which I have noted —namely, the Iris. 7/ 
people. We are told that it is necessary for a certain purpose- 1 , 
to satisfy these aspirations, that a statutory Parliament should 
be forthwith established in Dublin. What is a statutory 
Parliament ? J never heard the expression until the end of tlie 
year 1885. and then, I think, the expression was invented by a 
newspaper. There appear to be some people in this country 
who are innocent enough to suppose that the won! ' statutory ' 
is something so sacred that a statutory Parliament is a per- 
fectly safe tiling, and that a Parliament which was not statutory 
would be a very dangerous thing. I suppose, however, that tie 
statutory Parliament is a Parliament which is created by statute, 
and whose powers are defined by statute; but I want to know frora* 
the supporters of this motion what sort of security they derive 
from the word ' statutory.' What sort of security can they shov^"" 
that the statute creating that Parliament would be like th*^ 
law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not? I should* 
like to know how many statutes have been passed by Parliamen- "* 
which have not been either repealed or amended? And whfe- "* 
is there to prevent the statute which you pass this year creatines? 
an Irish Parliament being amended the next vear bv a new on -^ 
which might expand the power of the Irish Parliament? -* 
therefore look upon the word statntory as being utterly dehisiv^ - 
and I would recommend that the word Parliament should stan** 
by itself without the adjective statutory. Rut I ask whether 
you think that, having been unable to resist the demand lot 
the creation of an Irish Parliament, you would be able to 
resist a demand by that Parliament for an extension of its own 
power. Upon this point 1 should like to refer to a passage 
from a speech from one of the most learned of living Irishmen 
the riidit honourable <rentleman who was Attornev-General 
in Lord P>e{icnii>field's Covernment, and who was afterwards 
Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and who is admitted to be more 
intimately acquainted with Irish history than any other man. 
] mean Dr. Pall. In speaking in the debate on Home Rule in 


1 87-4 he used these words : ' The answer to the motion was not 
to be found in elaborate argument or in dealing with allegations 
*zmd assertions which were alike unfounded. It was to be found 
ix* the perception which must flash across the mind of every man 
*c*quainted with the history of the two countries, that to grant 
iti would be to weaken, if not to destroy, the power and great- 
a«*8 of the empire. They talk of confining themselves in 
tim« Parliament in Dublin to special questions. That was the 
tfci«ory, but they could not limit the range or the aims of the 
power they had called into existence. It would chip and burst 
Ub« shell in which it had grown and been fostered, and soar far 
beyond command or control. What commenced with local 
•flfairs would expand to imperial. Having crushed the landlords 
°^Jreland, they would next proclaim war with the Saxon and the 
""^otestant. They could not measure the progress of representa- 
tive institutions. The House of Commons, scarcely tolerated by 
™ e Tudors, had grown to be the prominent power in the State. 
***e Irish Parliament, however sincere might be the efforts of 
"^°8e who demanded it to check it, would expand to dangerous 
^^ensions. It would become ambitious, and aspire to dictate 
***** intermeddle in the police of the empire.' That gentleman put 
^^emely well a point which you must recollect, that if you once 
■^^^fcsent to the creation of a Parliament in Dublin, you abandon 
*** power of controlling the action or of preventing the growth 
°* that Parliament unless you had recourse to arms. 

With regard to the statutory Parliament, it is said we are to 
B*%nt it because it would satisfy the just aspirations of the Irish 
T^ople. Now, would it ? That is a point upon which we can 
8&t no certain information. Not that it would make the slightest 
difference to me personally if I had the information ; but it 
1 &ight to other people. It is supposed that a Parliament situ- 
ated in Dublin on the plan of Mr. Gladstone would satisfy the 
[ aspirations of the Irish people. You remember that under that 
plan Irish members were excluded from imperial concerns, and 
they were never more to have the slightest voice in imperial 
matters. We arj asked as serious and reasonable persons to 
believe that a Parliament of that character would satisfy the 
just aspirations of the Irish people. I have here an extract from 
vol. u. u 


the writings of a very distinguished, or at any rate a very — 
notorious Irishman in the last century, when he was alluding to^^D 

and describing his own Parliament in Ireland as it existed at : 

that time, and the Parliament of Ireland as it existed then hat^El 

undoubtedly far more power, far more diguity, than the Parlia 

nient which was proposed to be created by Mr. Gladstone. Hovi ■ 
did Mr. Wolfe Tone speak of the Parliament of Ireland as i — t 

existed before the Union — a larger and more powerful bodythar. 1 

it is now proposed to create? This is what he said in 179-i , 
and 1 recommend it to the honourable gentleman who is dis- 
posed to be so confident in the statement of Mr. Parnell as t^«w 
the limits of the Irish appetite. This is what Mr. Wolfe Ton__ e 
said : ' The present state of Ireland is such as is not to l^^*e 
paralleled in history or fame. Inferior to no other country L_ n 
Europe in the gifts of nature, blessed with a temperate sky a»_d 
a fruitful soil, intersected by great rivers, indented round h^er 
whole coast with the noblest harbours, abounding with all tk-ir 
necessary materials for unlimited commerce, teeming with ine* rs- 
haustible mines of the most useful metal, filled by four millions o/' 
an ingenious and gallant people with bold hands and ardent spirit*, 
posted right in the track between Europe and America, witbiu 
fifty miles of England and three hundred miles of France — yet 
with all these great advantages unheard of and unknown; with- 
out pride, or power, or name ; without ambassador, army, or na\T,* 
not of half the consequence in the empire of which she has the 
honour to make a part as the single county of York or the loyal 
and well-regulated town of Birmingham.* That was the satis- 
faction which a most representative Irishman in the year 1791 
felt with reference to the Irish Parliament of that day ; and, 
judging by that standard, what do you think as reasonable 
people would be the satisfaction which Irishmen of the present 
day would feel with such a Parliament as was offered to them 
by Mr. (Gladstone ? I leave this analysis of the resolution for 
the time. The fact of the matter is, this question of repealing 
the Union or maintaining the Union is really not a question of 
fine-drawn arguments. It is not a question of ingenious theory. 
It is a question ol* instinct and common sense, and no other. 
That is the wav in which it was always treated bv Sir Robert 


Peel. He always said it was a question of common sense, and 
not one of elaborate argument. What is the meaning of this 
proposition to create a statutory Parliament ? It means this. 
That you will abolish your present Imperial Parliament for the 
United Kingdom, and that you will set up and work in its 
place two Parliaments and two Governments responsible to those 
two Parliaments, and the proposition, which is seriously made, 
and which we are called upon to accept, is that that duality 
of Parliaments and Governments will produce a more perfect 
onion for all imperial purposes than the one Parliament and 
Government that we have now. That is a statement which 
requires only to be made to be confounded. It is not necessary 
to argue to see its utter impossibility and nonsense. It may 
have occurred to many of you in the course of your daily expe- 
riences to witness that most painful and most melancholy 
spectacle of an idiot child. You see at once, in looking at it, 
that there is an awful absence of reason in the child, and just as 
a whole congress of doctors would not be required to prove to 
you that the child was an idiot, so, in the same way, no congress 
rf doctors would be able to prove that the child was rational 
ind sane : and so it is with this proposition, that duality of 
Parliaments and Governments will produce in the United King- 
dom a greater union for imperial purposes than one Parliament 
»nd one Government produce. 1 submit to you that hopeless 
folly is indelibly stamped upou the lineaments of such a pro- 

After all, this question of Home Rule, although it is before 
us in certain novel aspects, is in no sense of the word a new 
question. It was my fortune in 1874 to witness the birth of 
Home Rule in its present form. I heard Mr. Butt bring it on 
in the House of Commons, and I heard it debated two nights. 
Mr. Butt was a remarkable man. He was a very learned 
lawyer. He was admitted to be perhaps as high an authority 
on constitutional law as existed in his day, and he was in addi- 
tion a very sound Tory. Mr. Butt was supported by a great 
mixture of classes in Ireland. He was supported not only by 
the mass of the people, but a large number of most respectable 
persons followed him. More than that : certain Conservatives 

v 2 


were avowed supporters of Mr. Butt. Colonel King-Hannan. 1 
the present Under-Secretary for Ireland, came into Parliament 
as a supporter of Mr. Butt. Mr. George Morris, one of the 
shrewdest men in Ireland, and now Vice-President of the I,ocal 
Government Board, was a supporter of Mr. Butt ; and that wa» 
a movement which was discussed by Parliament, and which 
was decisively rejected by Parliament ; a movement, compared 
to the present movement, as respectable and as high as can 
well be imagined. In fact, I do not like to draw comparison*, 
because I should be using too strong language about the 
present movement. That motion was opposed by both parties 
in the State at that time. I do not think it necessary to indole 
in any denunciation of Mr. Gladstone for his conversion to Home 
Rule, but I do complain that he should indulge in denunciation 
of his opponents because they have not been able to make the 
same conversion which he has made. I read in the ' Quarterly 
Review ' the other day a sentence from one of the works of Dr. 
Arnold ; he said, ' It is not to be endured that scepticism should 
run at once into dogmatism, and that we should be required to 
doubt with as little discrimination as formerly we were called 
upon to believe.' Mr. Gladstone and his party more than all 
others did call upon the people, did call upon us, to believe in 
the merits of the Union. He had faith in the merits of the 
Union, but his faith changed to scepticism, his scepticism de- 
generated into infidelity in the merits of the Union, his in- 
fidelity has become dogmatic, and he fiercely denounces those 
who have been unable to follow him in his surprising courw- 
When I referred to the motion of Mr. Butt it was to bring 
before your notice a speech made upon the motion by Lord 
llartington — for after all it is rat her in these old speeches that we 
find instruction than in anything said at the present day— to 
call your attention to a most remarkable statement which Lord 
llartington made with regard to this very motion for a Parlia- 
ment in Ireland, and to a most remarkable prophecy which he 
made. Lord llartington, in replying to Mr. Butt, said: — 4 Jn 
honour and honesty the Imperial Parliament in Great Britain are 
hound to tell the Irish people that whatever arguments are n**d 

1 Died in 1888. 


with reference to that question as applied to Ireland, while 
giving every consideration to the just claims of Ireland, we only 
look at it from an imperial poiut of view, and we are con- 
vinced that, whatever might be the effect of the proposal upon 
the internal affairs of the country, we can never give our assent 
to that proposal.' Here was the head of the Liberal party, 
speaking for the whole Liberal party, making a statement, with- 
out the dissent of a single member of that party, to this effect 
— that even if it were proved that Home Rule would be of great- 
est benefit and the source of unlimited prosperity to Ireland, the 
Imperial Parliament would never grant Home Rule because they 
would have to look at it from an imperial point of view. That 
was Lord Hartington's statement, which I commend to your 
notice as being then the view of Mr. Gladstone and the Liberal 
party. Mr. Gladstone was a party to that statement. And 
now I will give you the prophecy that immediately followed 
that statement, and when you see how the prophecy has been 
fulfilled, it will, I think, certainly induce you to lend even 
greater weight to the statement than otherwise you might be 
prepared to do. Lord Hartington, after alluding to the fact 
that the Liberal party was sometimes taunted with a desire to 
ally themselves with the Irish party, went on to use these 
words : c But now it might be said that protestations of this 
kind were of little avail, and that when the exigency of the 
moment demanded it they might be easily evaded and set aside, 
and therefore it was of more importance that he should express 
his firm conviction that if any honourable members sitting on 
that side of the House were so reckless as to show symptoms on 
their part of a disposition to coquet with this question, there 
would instantly be such a disruption and such a disorganisation 
of parties that they would find that they had lost more support 
in England and Scotland than they could ever hope to obtain 
from Ireland.' I think you will admit that that was a most 
remarkable prophecy made twelve years before the event 
occurred ; and it has been marvellously borne out ; because, 
although Mr. Gladstone by his conversion gained eighty-six 
votes from Ireland, he lost no less than one hundred and forty 
votes in England and Scotland. 


Now I will allude to a matter of interest, and one that ha> 
a considerable bearing on this question. I will examine the 
conversion of Mr. Gladstone to the policy of Repeal, and en- 
deavour to discover the causes of that conversion. We know 
perfectly well that up to the time of the election of 1885 Mr. 
Gladstone was the declared opponent of the Repeal of the Union, 
or Home Rule ; and that immediately after that election he 
underwent a great change of opinion, and then appeared for the 
first time as a supporter of Home Rule. Now, how was th? 
great conversion brought about ? Because it was that conver- 
sion and nothing else that has brought Home Rule within the 
region of practical politics. I believe that the history of Mr. 
Gladstone's conversion to Home Rule was this. I happened to 
be in a position at that time to be extremely well informed upon 
the subject, partly from official information at my command, and 
partly from other information I was able to obtain. From that 
information I have reason to believe that Mr. Gladstone was told 
after the election of 1885 that Lord Carnarvon, the then Viceroy 
of Ireland, had formed a strong opinion favourable to a large 
concession in the direction of Home Rule. Mr. Gladstone re- 
sorted im mediately to the sometimes dangerous process of put- 
ting two and two together, and, remembering the change which 
Mr. Disraeli had induced the Tory Party to make in reference to 
Parliamentary reform, he arrived at the conclusion that if the 
Tory Viceroy was in favour of Home Rule the Tory Cabinet 
must also be in favour of it. He himself could not afford to be 
out of the running ; he could not afford to be more Tory than 
the Tories themselves. Therefore it was that he made that re- 
markable communication to the editor of the Leeds newspaper 
which convulsed the whole political world at the time. But Mr. 
Gladstone did not know, and I do not know that he knows it 
now, that with the exception of Lord Carnarvon not one single 
member of that cabinet would consent to consider, even for one 
single moment, the policy of taking a single step in the direction 
of Homo Rule. You may be certain that if Mr. Gladstone had 
known that, or could have brought himself to believe it, he wouH 
not have made the advance to the Irish party which he did. 
l>ecause he was under no necessity to make it. He occupied an 


xtremely powerful position at the time. He was at the head 
f a party numbering 330 members in the House of Commons — 

party which could not be effectually assailed except by an 
lfiance between the Tories and the Irish on the basis of a con- 
eesion to the Irish on the lines of Home Rule, and of that, I 
ave pointed out, there was no danger whatever. What is the 
toral of this ? That is the point. It must detract from the 
lerits and force of this conversion to Home Rule and of the 
olicy founded upon that conversion, if you discover that it was 
ased, not upon the calm, dispassionate, and disinterested exami- 
ation of what was good for the two countries, but merely upon 

miscalculation of Parliamentary chances by an old Parliamen- 
iry hand. Do not think I cast any doubt on Mr. Gladstone's 
resent sincerity, but I am entitled to search for what I call the 
rst cause of his conversion, and in that first cause I discover a 
ital flaw in his position. I do not denounce Mr. Gladstone ; for 
'e must remember that the combination of the wisdom of the 
jrpent and the harmlessness of the dove was from the earliest 
ad, I may say, the holiest times not only counselled but en- 
rined ; but I cannot conceal my opinion, nor can I refrain 
■om the declaration, that I find in Mr. Gladstone's conversion 
> Home Rule a great deal more of the trail of the serpent than 

do of the silvery wings of the dove. 

Let me examine a very important and practical matter, 
ne which seemed a good deal to interest those who spoke in 
apport of this motion, and that is, what are the chances of 
tepeal being carried in Parliament and in the country ? That 
i a very practical question, and very important for this Society, 
>r two reasons : because it certainly would not look well in 
lture years that you should have adopted hastily a policy 
rhich the common sense of England had afterwards continually 
epudiated ; nor would it be well that many of those who are 
lere to-night, and who are so fortunate as to have before them 
m uncommenced public career, should at the outset of that 
areer ally themselves with a hopelessly defeated and fallen 
ause. Now, therefore, what are the chances of this Repeal 
K)licy which is embodied in this resolution being carried ? I 
rill examine it with judicial impartiality, and I start by telling 


you that the conclusion at which I have arrived is that the 
chances of Repeal being carried are microscopically slender. 
What are the chances in favour of it ? I find only one, and 
that is the alliance which has been formed between the Liberal 
party, or what remains of the Liberal party, and the Irish party. 
We are always told, that whenever the Liberal party have iden- 
tified themselves with any question, that question has always 
sooner or later been carried to a triumphant issue. Well, that 
is far too general a statement, and the honourable members 
who spoke in support of this motion will at once recollect 
that at the close of the last century the Liberal party, under 
the leadership of Mr. Fox, adopted a line of policy which was 
considered by the country to be erroneous and dangerous. The 
result of the Liberal party adopting such a line of policy was, 
that from the year 1782 to the year 1832 the Tory party, with 
the exception of very brief and fortuitous intervals of Liberal 
government, absolutely governed England. I am quite content 
not to carry my examination of the future further than a period 
of fifty years. You must also bear in mind that the Liberal 
party of the present day is by no means the formidable instru- 
ment which the Liberal party was two or three years ago. 
Mr. Gladstone, in carrying his party through that most start- 
ling political manoeuvre which I have referred to, has lost many 
of his ablest marshals and some of his most effective troops? 
and the difference between the formidable character of the 
Liberal party of the present day and that of three years ago 
is much the same as the difference which would exist between 
the man in possession of both his legs and arms and the m» n 
who in battle had lost a leg and an arm. Obviously the 
latter man would not be nearly so formidable an opponent. 
The alliance between the Liberals and the Irish Home Rulers 
is the only chance which 1 can find in favour of Repeal being 
carried, and against that 1 have to set a most formidable 1W 
of chances. Tn the first place, this Parliament is constitu- 
tionally and legally entitled to last until the year 1893, and a 5 
the rnionist majority in this Parliament has now proved itself* 
after frequent trials, to be of remarkable and unusual solidity, ' 
cannot think that any rational person would suppose that this 


ment, in the ordinary course of events, is likely to come 
end much before August 1893. That is a long period — 
ears — and a great deal may happen in five years. Mr. 
»ne states, and his followers proudly repeat, that the 
g tide is with them. Yes ; but in five years the tide may 
nd ebb, and ebb and flow ; and there is no reason that I 
e why when August 1 893 comes round, the tide should 
e flowing on the side of Mr. Gladstone's opponents, 
"ore, considering that this Parliament is likely to last five 
I own that I cannot attach the importance to those recent 
ections which Mr. Gladstone's supporters seemed inclined 
ich. It must be always recollected about them that the 
question of the Union does not come before the constitu- 
— all sorts of minor issues come before the constituencies 
stions such as the case of Miss Cass, the case of Trafalgar 
3, or something of that kind. But at not one of these 
ns has the question of the Repeal of the Union been before 
instituency except in an indirect form, and that indirect 
las been the public renunciation and denunciation by the 
*ters of Mr. Gladstone of the legislative proposals which 
rladstone placed before Parliament in 1886. For these 
b, I do not think that we ought to attach, or that the 
3rs of Mr. Gladstone would be wise in attaching, undue 
ance to these bye-elections, considering that whatever 
how we shall never actually ascertain until the month of 
t 1893. 

©me to another chance against the policy of Repeal being 
I, which, I think, is of great importance, and that is, that 
who study Irish history and Irish nature will come to 
nclusion, that all Irish political movements are essentially 
>nt in their nature. Take the great Repeal movement, 

was far more passionately supported by the Irish than 
>vement of Mr. Parnell, and was far more honestly sup- 
, because it was entirely unconnected with the land, 
noveraent was passionately supported by the Irish people 

classes and all creeds, for O'Connell had an immense 
r of supporters among the classes as distinguished from 

the masses. How long did that Repeal movement 


last ? Only a very few years ; and from the day when it dis- 
appeared to the present time, the movement for Repeal has 
never been heard of at all. Take the Fenian movement. I 
remember quite well the beginning of the Fenian movement, 
and I do not think I am using any exaggeration when I say 
that half of the Irish population were either sworn Fenians or 
in close sympathy with them. What has become of the Fenian 
movement at the present time ? It can hardly be said to exist. 
It has absolutely vanished into the past, and so, no doubt, every . 
other Irish political movement will prove to have been of a 
transient character. In connection with this view, let us 
examine the present constitution of the Irish parry. Do you 
think that anybody who knows Ireland, and knows that party, 
would think it likely to hold together until the month of 
August 1 893 ? I do not. I know there are divisions of uV 
deepest character in that party, with difficulty at the present 
moment bridged over. The party is sharply divided into two 
sections — those who believe in the efficacy of Parliamentary ami 
constitutional methods, and those who do not believe in the 
efficacy of those methods ; and depend upon it, as year after 
year goes by, and Home Rule recedes farther and farther into 
the distance, those who no not believe in the efficacy of Parlia- 
mentary methods will assert their superiority over those who 
do believe in the efficacy of Parliamentary methods, and the 
moment they succeed in asserting that superiority the knell of 
the Irish party, as we know it now, will have been tolled. Yon 
may say that by stating this I am perhaps preventing such an 
eventuality taking place. Not at all. It mast take place, in 
the nature of things. It cannot help taking place as sure as we 
are here. If this present Parliament lasts for five years, the 
Irish party, as we see it now, will have gone to pieces. That 
is another consideration, I think, well worth your notice against 
the policy of Repeal being carried. 

I come to another, of equal importance,— the extreme 
uncertainty of any political movement being carried to » 
triumphant issue which absolutely depends upon the life of one 
man. I heard tin* other day Mr. Gladstone speak in the Hon* 
of Commons. After the many speeches I have heard bin 


'. never heard him make a more memorable, a more 
, a more oratorical effort, not only from the eloquence 
ich it abounded, but memorable from the physical vigour 
[ from a man of his age to deliver so long, so exhaustive 
i. Brt as I listened to that speech I watched the party 
him and the colleagues by his side, and I thought to 
4 Where would you be without the oratory of your 
and my mind, instantly, readily, and with certainty 
3 the question, c Nowhere.' 

ggest another chance, which is equally good, against 
y of Repeal being carried. I will rejoice the imagination 
who support this motion, and assume the possibility of 
of August 1893 coming round, and the accession to 
Mr. Gladstone at the head of a majority. Even then 
ices of carrying Mr. Gladstone's policy would not be 
sat, because then you are met by the absolute impos- 
of framing a plan which shall successfully create and 
lis statutory Parliament. One question alone, the ex- 
irom or the retention of the Irish members at West- 
you will find, if you think it over, would checkmate 
ling or devising of any plan for a statutory Parliament 
ad, and no one knows it better than Mr. Gladstone, 
vs he cannot get the Liberal party to support a policy 
rill entail the exclusion of the Irish members. He has . 
rid, and he never will say, that it is in his power to 
t plan which will retain them at Westminster while 
hem a Parliament of their own. Nobody has ever at- 
to devise a plan but Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Butt never 
e was often challenged, but never attempted it. The 
Irish party have never attempted it. They have often 
allenged, but they never would. Mr. Gladstone was 
to devise a plan ; and snch a plan it was, that even the 
nd supporters of this motion had not one word of praise 
plan. But I go still further and say this, that even 
Jladstone, by the help of a fanatical majority, was en- 
set up in Ireland a statutory Parliament of some kind 
er, you may be absolutely certain that the crazy and 
machinery of government would be shattered and 


shivered into a thousand fragments at the very outset of its 
existence by the resistance, the armed resistance and the irre- 
sistible resistance, of Protestant Ulster. 

And now I can understand some one saying to me in de- 
speration. Is Home Rule, then, never to be granted? I can 
tell anybody who makes such an inquiry the epoch at which it 
will be granted, but I cannot fix the date of that epoch. When 
Britain has ceased to rule an empire ; when Britain has ceased 
to be a nation ; when Britain has lost her great dependency of 
India; when Britain has been abandoned and repudiated by 
her colonies ; when Britain has been overrun by foreign armies 
and conquered by foreign foes ; when her wealth, her manufac- 
tures, and her commerce have all departed ; when the manly 
spirit and dogged determination of her sons have become but 
us a memory and as a dream of the past — then, I think, Ireland 
will obtain Home Rule. I can only wonder at those who, at 
such a moment as the present, are seeking, by various pretexts 
and under plausible excuses, to weaken, mutilate, and divide 
our Imperial Government and our Imperial Parliament. Open 
your newspapers any morning, and you will see at the head of 
the foreign intelligence the words 'The European Situation. 
Although I earnestly hope and believe that the European peace 
will be preserved from day to day, from week to week, from 
month to month, and even from year to year, still I cannot dis- 
guise from myself, nor can any of you disguise from yourselves, 
that we may be standing on the brink of a rupture of European 
peace such as we have not seen since 1813. If such a catastrophe 
as the outbreak of war should fall on Europe, I know, and you 
know, that it will require all the concentrated strength and all the 
undivided resources of England to bear her unharmed through 
such a conflict and collision of nations. I own that I have 
little patience to argue on such a matter as this with those who 
at such a crisis of the world's history seriously propose to adopt. 
as an expedient of domestic policy, a programme so desperate 
and so insane as that embodied in this resolution. 

Let me assure you of my very sincere gratitude for the 
kindness with which you have listened to my lengthy remark?. 
1 wish most respectfully to say to you that you are right and 


wise to consider betimes this great constitutional question. You 
do rightly, and you do wisely, as the representatives — ay, 
probably as the leaders — of the coming generation, to exercise 
your strong, your bright, and your hitherto unwearied intelli- 
gences upon a subject so high and so attractive as the relations 
which exist, or which ought to exist, between the Irish and 
the English people. I earnestly pray that the result of your 
continued deliberations may be to induce at least the large 
majority of you to walk straightly and to tread firmly in that 
path of honour and safety which till within two years ago was 
consistently and unhesitatingly followed by both the great 
political parties in the State ; and I entertain the confident 
anticipation that it will be alike the privilege and pride of many 
of you to contribute in a marked degree, according to your 
several measures, capacities, and opportunities, to the main- 
tenance, in all its splendour and in all its unity, of the mighty 
empire which is your inheritance and our great possession. 



House of Commons, March 8, 1888. 

[In Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates, Sir Walter 
Jlarttelot moved the following amendment: — * That an humble 
address be presented to her Majesty, praying that, in order accu- 
rately to ascertain our position, she may be graciously pleased to 
appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into and report upon the 
requirements for the protection of the empire.' 

The result of this was that a Royal Commission was granted, 
though not precisely of the kind which Sir Walter Barttelot and 
his friends desired. The following speech was delivered in support 
of the amendment. 

The virtual control of the Army by civilians, and the effects of 
that system, are dwelt upon in this speech, but the importance of 
the issue thus raised has not yet been adequately appreciated, nor 
are the dangers involved in it at all comprehended by the people.] 

1 THINK I am right in saying that since the great debates on 
army organisation, which will be well within the recollec- 
tion of the right honourable gentleman opposite [Mr. Gladstone], 
which took place in I860, 1870, and 1871, we have had no 
discussion in the House of Commons so important as the one 
which the House is now engaged in carrying on. I think the 
House will act wisely if it endeavours to arrive at what I may 
call the real meaning of the motion now before the House. It 
appears to me to be this. It is a cry of alarm raised by the 
representatives of the services at our present condition as re- 
gards offensive and defensive preparations ; a great and louden* 
of anxiety concerning the present condition of our military 
organisation. There is one feature about this Parliament which 
is worthy of notice. I doubt whether in any former Parliament 
the services have been so strongly represented as they are in 


the present House. I do not wish the House to be led away 
into any discussion as to whether that is a wise arrangement or 
not. By consulting a work l which is in favour with honourable 
gentlemen opposite, and which I have no reason to suppose is 
incorrect, I find that the services are represented more or less 
directly in the House by no less than 178 members ; therefore 
the Parliamentary strength of the services is most unusual, and 
probably has never been equalled, or even approached, in any 
previous Parliament, and may possibly never be equalled again. 
What happened on Monday night ? Many speakers addressed 
the House, and of all the speakers who addressed the House, 
and who all, except one, belonged to the services, or may be 
said to have represented the services, every single member who 
spoke agreed in assailing the position the Government had taken 
up with regard to this motion. There can be no question among 
us as practical and reasonable beings,- that on all subjects of 
technical administration and management the authority of the 
representatives of the services must stand high. What was 
most remarkable was the absolute unanimity which characterised 
the declarations of the honourable and gallant gentlemen who 
represent the services. Unanimity has not always characterised 
the representatives of the services. There have been great 
divisions with reference to the Army ; one honourable member 
would advocate a particular reform and was contradicted by 
another; and if we refer to the great debates on army 
organisation which characterised the years I have before alluded 
to — I mean the debates on the introduction of short service and 
the abolition of purchase — we shall find a sharp division of 
military opinion on the merits and demerits of those reforms. 
The bulk of army opinion was against them, but there were 
many distinguished soldiers who sided with the Government of 
the day, and advocated the reforms. The unanimity which we 
now have among the representatives of the services with regard 
to this particular motion is almost unparalleled, and is, I think, 
worthy the attention of the House. They one and all, by dif- 
ferent arguments and by different allegations, asserted our posi- 
tion from a military point of view to be in a deplorable and 

1 The Financial lUform Almanac. 


unsatisfactoryVondition, and that notwithstanding the increasing 
cost which the House has been called upon to defray in respect 
of the Army of this country. It would certainly appear from 
some of the speeches made that the only remedy proposed was 
that we should spend more money. I am not prepared to say 
that is their remedy ; but if it is, I am at issue with them. 
My remedy, if their statements of fact are true, is, * Reform your 
system.' If we reform our system, 1 am convinced that the 
money which is spent now will be amply sufficient, and more 
than amply sufficient, to maintain our army in a fairly efficient 
and satisfactory condition. Let the House consider the nature 
of our system of military organisation. There is one feature 
about it which is absolutely unparalleled in any other country 
in the world. No other country has a military system at all 
approaching ours, and that drives us to one of two conclusions. 
Kit her our system is so good that no other country can at all 
approach it, or it is so bad that no other country would adopt 
any part of it. The House can form an opinion for itself as to 
which is likely to be the case. The system is a most curious 
mixture of civil and military elements, the feature of which is 
that the civil element predominates over the military, which is 
subordinate to the civil. The consequence is, that the responsi- 
bility to Parliament is laid upon the civil element alone and 
altogether taken away from the military element. There is no 
connection whatever between the military heads of the Army 
and the Parliament of this country. That, I believe, is a correct 
statement of our military system; and not only is there no 
approach to it in other countries, but our military system, com- 
pared with that of other countries, is very costly. 

Now, sir, we are told by the representatives of the services 
in this House, speaking with responsibility and authority, that 
this system, which costs more than any other system, is useless? 
and worse than useless ; it is a mischievous system, which gives 
no results in the shape of the military preparations which the 
country has a right to expect. That this is the result is not a 
matter of surprise. We have made arrangements by which 
military men, who from their youth have studied and mastered 
all the intricacies of military service, are placed in direct sub- 


ordination to civilians who have had no such training, and who, 
from the necessity of the case, are incapable of acquiring it. 
We apply to the Army a system which, I venture to say, we 
would not uphold and maintain in any other case. I will draw 
a homely analogy. Supposing the Prime Minister of this 
country were to select the senior member for Northampton ! to 
be head of the Church of England and were to appoint him 
Archbishop of Canterbury, or supposing he were to select the 
right honourable member for Sleaford * to be head of the legal 
profession and make him Lord Chancellor, the result would be 
that the public mind would be shocked by such appointments. 
A man who made such appointments ought to be placed under 
legal restraint. But that which is supposed to be an insane 
action in ecclesiastical or in legal matters is regarded as a per- 
fectly sane act in the management of military affairs. Not only 
are military training, military life, and military experience not 
required in the case of high War Office appointments, but I 
believe I do not go too far when I say that military training, 
military life, and military experience are almost a disqualification 
for high official appointments at the War Office. In what I am 
about to say I do not propose to throw any blame upon the 
present Secretary for War. 3 When the present Secretary for 
War was appointed he endeavoured to put an end to many 
curious anomalies which prevailed in his department. The 
Secretary of State in his statement on the Army Estimates has 
mentioned certain reforms which he has adopted for the purpose 
of relieving the civil authority of some of the control over the 
Army. The Secretary of State regarded that as a primary 
feature of reorganisation. What strikes me, however, is, that 
by this so-called reform certain offices have been abolished and 
others have been set up in their places, and the heads of the 
abolished departments have been placed in other positions. 
That is the character, as a rule, of War Office reorganisations. 
Tlie Secretary for War has abolished the offices of Director and 
Assistant Director of Supplies and Transport, which were for- 
Hfeeriy respectively filled by Sir A. Haliburton and Mr. Lawson 
*t salaries of 1,200/. and of 1,0002. per annum. But although 
» Mr. Lsbonchere. * Mr. Henry Chaplin. » Mr. Edward Stanhope. 

vol. n. x 


these gentlemen ceased to exist in their former characters, the]c~ 
now reappear — resurrected as it were — Sir A. Haliburton as 
Assistant Under Secretary for War. with a salary of 1,200/. per 
annum, and Mr. Lawson. as Assistant Deputy Accountant- 
general, at a salary of 1,000/. per annum? Will the Hoase 
believe that there was already in existence an Assistant Under 
Secretary for War at a salary of 1,500/. per annum in the person 
of Colonel Deedes, who has no duty to perform except to look 
after the messengers at the War Office, and who has now the 
aid of Sir A. Haliburton to assist him in the discharge of that 
laborious work, and that there were already in existence two 
Assistant Deputy Accountant-Generals, one with 1,200/. anil 
the other 1 ,000/. a year, and that Mr. Lawson has been appointed 
to assist them, with a salary of 1,000/. per annum. That is not 
all. In the place of the Surveyor-General of the Ordnance 
Department two new offices have been created. There has been 
created a Director of Ordnance Factories, and the gentleman 
who holds that office is General Maitland, who was formerly one 
of the Superintendents of the Gun Factories, at a salary of 950/. 
His salary is now doubled, and he receives 1,800/. a year; and 
what is more remarkable is that he was singled out by the 
Commission presided over by Sir J. Stephen as being mainly, 
if not entirely, responsible for the design and manufacture of 
the ill-fated lo-ton guns. The Secretary for War, in his state- 
ment, uses the following language : l Among the advantages 
which T anticipate from this alteration I place first the fact that 
the military authorities will now be enabled to take a compre- 
hensive view of the whole condition of the military resources of 
the country, of our requirements, and of the means available 
for meeting them. All the threads are in their own hands. 
Any scheme put forward by them should be founded upon (nil 
knowledge of all surrounding conditions, and the Secretory 
of State will be enabled to rely upon them for advice as to the 
comparative importance of all proposals for army expenditure. 
What 1 wish to ask is, whether the Commander-in-Chief and hi 8 
great military advisers are aware of the increased responsibility 
which has been thrown upon them, and whether they are will- 
ing to accept that increased responsibility. If the statement 


is a mere expression of the opinion of the Secretary for War, 
it is not worth the paper it is written upon. The Secretary for 
War says that all the management of the Army is in the hands 
of the military authorities. That is contrary to the fact. The 
most important matters connected with army administration, 
such as those relating to contracts for clothing and for ordnance, 
are absolutely removed from the knowledge of the Commander- 
in-Chief; and that being so, I fail to see how all the army 
administration is in the hands of the military authorities. 

I come to a much more important question — that relating 
to the estimates. Under the Order in Council which created 
the present office of Commander-in-Chief, the duties of that 
officer were greatly enlarged, and the Commander-in-Chief is now 
charged with the duty of preparing the estimates. If the House 
turns to the duty of the Financial Secretary to the War Office, 
they will find that he is charged with the duty of compiling the 
estimates. Will the Secretary of State explain the distinction 
between preparing and compiling the estimates? Does com- 
piling really mean adding up the Commander-in-Chief's figures 
to see whether he has made any mistake in his arithmetic, or 
does it mean going over the estimates, reducing some amounts 
fired by the Commander-in-Chief, and increasing others ? If 
you have not given financial authority to the military officials you 
have not increased their responsibility nor their control over the 
Army. The control over the Army depends upon financial 
authority, and if the Commander-in-Chief has nothing to do with 
the preparation of the estimates matters are left exactly where 
they were before. That argument cannot be contradicted ; but 
in spite of this the Secretary of State says that now, for the first 
time, he is able to rely on the military authorities. That is a 
most extraordinary statement. I altogether deny its accuracy, and 
I assert if former Secretaries of State have not been able to rely on 
their military advisers nothing which has taken place in the War 
Office will enable the Secretary of State to rely upon them now. 
I would like, with regard to our present position, and with re- 
gard to this question of military responsibility and military 
control, of civil responsibility and civil control, to read to the 
Boose some extracts from the evidence given before the Royal 

x 2 


Commission by a witness of the highest authority. Lord Wolseley, 
in his evidence last year before the Royal Commission on civil 
establishments, used these most remarkable expressions, which 
are well worthy of the serious consideration of the House of 
Commons. In reply to question 2,473, Lord Wolseley said: 
k The tendency of all our military administration, so far as I 
have been able to judge of it, has been to make military men 
extravagant, has been to make them spending animals instead 
of economical animals. You have divided the great administra- 
tion of the Army into the military and into the civil, and you 
have strictly reserved to the civil branches everything connected 
with finance and everything bearing upon economy. The result 
is, as might be expected from such a system, that the military 
commander and his staff consider that they have absolutely no 
responsibility about money, and in all the demands and requests 
t hey make for stores or for money they do not think of economy, 
having been taught that the economical side of the question is 
entirely to be dealt with by the financial people in the War 
Office. Whereas, according to my notions, if you threw upon 
officers commanding districts and all the stations throughout 
the world a certain amount of financial responsibility, you would 
make them very anxious to economise for the public service: 
their reputation would then be at stake and they would hesi- 
tate before they made any extravagant demands.' In reply to 
question 2,528, Lord Wolseley said : 'My experience is, that 
when soldiers are trusted, as I have seen them, as governors and 
in that sort of position abroad, they are more particular about 
public money and more economical than any one else.' In reply 
to question 2.529, Lord Wolseley said : ' Now if the officer is 
economical he gets no credit for it. He is looked upon as a 
fool.' That is one of the results of our curious military system. 
Now, sir, these are Lord Wolseley s statements before a Royal 
Commission. But he gave further evidence as to the effect of 
placing a civilian in a responsible position over military men. 
In reply to question 2,250, Lord Wolseley said: 'I think it 
a very ridiculous thing to bring a gentleman into the War 
Office and make him responsible for supplying the Army with 
the most important implements they have to make use of — their 


arms, great guns, Ac. — who may be absolutely ignorant of every- 
thing connected with war, or the requirements of war, or the 
stores made use of in war.' In reply to question 2,460, he 
said : ' I think that the amount of effective work, as far as the 
Army is concerned, that a Parliamentary gentleman coming 
into the War Office can do is very small. I do not think the 
public have any very great return for the salary he receives. 
He brings no special knowledge to bear upon any of the very 
difficult subjects he is asked to deal with. He is the fifth wheel 
of the coach. The only thing I know he really can do is to 
answer questions in the House. If he interferes with people he 
has to deal with he interferes with the efficiency of the Army, 
and if he does not interfere with them, what good is he and for 
what purpose is he there ? ' It is only fair to say that the 
statement was m ade abou t the Su rveyor-General . Lord Wolseley, 
who had been through many campaigns, and who is a 6.C.B., 
being subordinate to the Secretary of State and dependent on 
the Secretary of State for his existence, could not apply that 
language to his official superior ; but I am putting no extrava- 
gant construction on Lord Wolseley's words if I were to say to 
the Secretary of State, ' Mutato nomine de te fabula narrator.' 
Lord Wolseley contrasts our system with the German system, 
and that is a very important matter. Lord Wolseley, in answer 
to question 2,338, said : i Germany is divided into nineteen 
army corps, and each army corps is as independent almost as 
England is of Ireland. It has its own establishment, ite own 
headquarters, and its own storage accommodation. It has its 
own transport and everything complete, and there is allotted to 
it, to the general officer commanding, so much money on an 
estimate, and he manipulates the whole thing, and is responsible 
to whoever is the financial man at the financial headquarters.' 
For the moment I digress in order to relate an experience of 
my own. When I passed through Berlin the other day I was 
fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of a captain of one 
of the regiments of Dragoons of the Guard. He was good enough 
to offer to show me all of what I may call the domestic economy 
of his regiment. I may mention that this officer was a man 
of high rank, the heir to a great fortune. That officer went 


to his regiment every morning at six o'clock, remaining with it 
until noun. He returned to his regiment at one o'clock and 
never left it until five or .six o'clock in the evening. That is the 
why in which the Prussian Armv works. The reason of the 
i/reater efficiency of that Army is because of the responsibility 
which the German system puts on the officer, as I shall show 
the House. The German officer has not only military control, 
but also financial control, and the manner in which an officer 
manages his regiment and the finances of his regiment is the 
measure of his promotion. This officer showed me the whole 
of the squadron of about one hundred and fifty men in all ite 
working. That squadron was complete in every single par- 
ticular. The whole of the money for the maintenance of the 
regiment wa* allotted to the colonel of the regiment who, with 
the five captains of the five squadrons, dealt with that money 
entirely as they thought fit. They made their own contracts, 
Ixnight their own supplies, purchased all their articles except 
horses and weapons. He showed me the storehouse of the 
squadron. There were in it duplicates, triplicates, of every 
single article of equipment or accoutrement which a cavalry 
regiment could possibly want. There were three or four suits 
of clothes, three or four sets of pouches and helmets; in fact 
they had every sort of thing in their storehouse in duplicate 
and in triplicate. Will the House believe that the great 
rivalry between regiments in Germany is, not to spend but 
to economise money, so that their stores may be better and 
greater in amount than those of any other regiment. That is 
the result of putting financial power in the hands of a soldier; 
and it is a fact that every Prussian regiment going to war is 
turned out with every article of equipment brand-new from 
beginning to end. That regiment of which I am speaking could 
have gone to the frontier at twelve hours' notice, and not one 
single letter of any sort or kind need have passed between them 
and the War Office. 1 venture to state that not one single 
regiment could be moved in this country without reams and files 
ami folios of correspondence, extending over a period of several 
days; and that i> our system and our military condition. 

1 have given to the House an instance of a 1 Russian regi- 


tnent, and from one instance you may learn all. They are all 
alike. I give the House now an instance of an English regiment 
which also came under my personal notice last year. An officer 
commanding one of our crack cavalry regiments required for his 
regiment new ammunition pouches. He applied for them, and 
after a time he got them. When he got them, however, he 
found that the straps across the shoulders were so weak that 
when the pouches were full of ammunition the straps broke and 
the ammunition tumbled out. The defect was brought to the 
notice of the War Office, but at first they did not believe it 
There was a long correspondence, but at last the War Office 
replied and admitted that they were bad, and new pouches 
were sent. When they arrived, it was found that they would 
not hold the regulation quantity of cartridges. Again the 
colonel commanding brought the matter to the notice of the 
War Office, who were most indignant and perfectly incredulous. 
A prolonged correspondence ensued with the War Office, but at 
last a solemn inspection was made of those pouches, and the 
statement was found to be correct. The colonel told me only 
the other day that, after a correspondence extending over more 
than a year, he had at last succeeded in getting for a crack cavalry 
regiment proper ammunition pouches. From that you may get 
a most perfect picture of the beauties of the German and English 
systems. These are instances which may not be contradicted. 
But the absurdities of the War Office are worthy of more notice. 
Lord Wolseley in his evidence stated to the Royal Commission 
that a man in Canada who had claims on the War Office for 
, 2s. 6d. had to sign his name nineteen different times. In the 
report by the accountants appointed to audit the accounts of the 
Woolwich factor}' there is a passage as to the query-sheet. On 
the question of payments made, it had to be signed or initialled by 
no fewer than eight persons, and after one year's labour of those 
eight persons in reference to this particular question, the result 
was a total disallowance of 2s. 4rf. Then in another passage the 
accountants speak of the many signatures required, and say 
that ' much labour is bestowed on most trifling amounts.' But 
what does Lord Wolseley say with regard to his own work ? 
Here is what the Adjutant-General of the Army says : ' Taking 


my own work, there is such an immense amount of small 
work that, instead of having time for. serious and big subjects, 
one's time is taken up in reading stupid little papers upon stupid 
little subjects. There is an immense amount of routine which 
ought to be avoided.' That is how Lord Wolseley describes the 
working of the system. 

1 should like to tell the House what are the results of the 
system. Lord Wolseley says: 'I think we move our troops 
a great deal too much, and that an immense amount of money 
is spent uselessly upon the movement of troops continually all 
over the world.' Then I will quote Lord Wolseley about the 
supplies of the Army. He says, in answer to question 2,267: 
4 During my time in the Army we have not been supplied with 
as good material as we ought to have been supplied with. I 
think, for instance, the tools supplied to the Army are very bad, 
extremely bad, taking them generally. The picks, shovels, axes, 
and all those descriptions of tools are very bad.' This, mind 
you, is the evidence of the Adjutant-General of the Army. 
With regard to the clothing of our troops Lord Wolseley 
says : ' I have seen the French Army, the soldiers of the 
German, and the soldiers of the Italian Army, and, looking 
at the clothing, T should say that their clothing is made of a 
decidedly superior quality to what ours is.' I hope that the 
House will bear that in mind. It has been stated that if 
the German Army were to be clothed at the same rate of ex- 
pense as our Army, that would add 300,000f. to their expendi- 
ture. Then, again. Lord Wolseley says, in answer to question 
2,510: k I am quite sure that if you sent to-morrow for an 
implement called a billhook, the common billhook that is used 
in the Army, you will find that it is made of very inferior stuff, 
little better than hoop-iron. If you chop wood with it the 
wood chops it.' That is the statement of a man who is speaking 
from his own experience, and it is a statement which was only 
made last year. But there is one more statement made by 
Lord Wolseley which is even more important. In answer to 
question 2, 11-), he says : ' I think that one of the most import- 
ant elements in regimental efficiency is regimental transport-, 
and one of the greatest misfortunes which our Army suffers from 


at the present moment is that we have not got even the nucleus 
of any regimental transport. Of all the troubles we suffer from 
when we take the field, the want of any regimental transport 
is the greatest. Now I have given to the House some of the 
results of our curious system, into which the Government do not 
seem desirous of having an inquiry. But there are other results 
which have met with a great chorus of military condemnation. 
Some right honourable gentlemen will recollect the Crimean war. 
What was the great feature of that war ? The great feature was 
that while the British soldier was covered with glory, the civil ad- 
ministration was covered with the deepest disgrace. But take 
the series of scandals in the last few years. Besides the scandals 
connected with the swords and bayonets of the Army and the 
cutlasses of the Navy, and that connected with the 43-ton gun, 
there appears to me to be a very unpleasant business at the 
present moment about what is known as the 9*2 in. gun. We 
have not quite arrived 'at the truth about it, but the Secretary 
of State for War has assured the House that a gun with a 
cracked lining is a better one than a gun with a lining which is 
not cracked. These are matters on which we have not yet full 
information ; but look at the commissariat scandal in Egypt, that 
terrible and unequalled scandal in connection with the ammuni- 
tion for the column in the desert. It is not that I want to irritate 
the authorities by placing upon them personally the responsibility 
for these matters ; I place the responsibility on the system. 
The system which has produced these results in the past is the 
same which obtains up to the present time ; and not in the 
slightest, in the most trifling particular has that system been 
really altered ; it is as powerful for evil now as it was then. 
We are told that there is Parliamentary control ; but what has 
Parliament ever done to bring any single person to justice 
for these scandals ? We have seen over and over again the 
futility of this alleged Parliamentary control. We have been 
told that, with regard to the number of field guns, we cannot 
do what Switzerland, Belgium, Servia, or Roumania could do 
with ease. A very serious statement was that made by the noble 
lord the member for Marylebone, which, I think, was a * calcu- 
lated indiscretion,' to the effect that we had no gunpowder in 


store and were obliged to depend for our gunpowder upon 
manufactories in a foreign country. I do not know whetherthe 
noble lord referred to cocoa powder, but he has stated that there 
was not sufficient in store. 

Lord C. Beresford : I said that there was not a sufficient 
amount in store to meet what would be requisite if we went to 

Lord It. Churchill: At all events, we have a statement of 
such importance as that made by the noble lord, who was in 
office only a very short time ago, and who must be in a position 
to know. 

Now, may I ask the House to judge the system from an 
economical point of view — that is to say, compare its cost with 
that of the German system ? Such a comparison is very in- 
teresting and full of lessons for us. We have the evidence 1 of 
one of the most distinguished officers in the British Army — 
namely. General Brackenbury, the head of the Intelligence 
Department. He was examined as to the cost of the German 
system. I think it will be admitted that the German sys- 
tem is nearly an ideal system, and that the more nearly we 
approach to it the more likely is our system to be a satisfactory 
one. General Brackenbury stated one thing which is most 
remarkable. He gave the cost of the German War Office and 
of our own. ( )ur War Office costs 400,000/. a year ; it contains 
(W'J officials, and manages an army which on a war footing 
may be considered as amounting to 500,000 men. The German 
War Office costs 100,000/. ; this includes the cost of the War 
Ministries of Bavaria, of Saxony, and of Wurtemberg; and 
there are only oO'J officials. The German War Office, with this 
small proportion of expenditure, manages to control an army 
which on a war footing amounts to upwards of 3,000,000 men. 
Those are broad facts, however they may be explained away by 
official ingenuity. Now let us look at the cost in the two cases. 
The expenses of the German army system last year were 
21,000.000/., or, deducting the non-effective vote, 19,300,000/., 
as compared with 11,000,000/., the expenses of the British 

1 This evidence was given before the Select Committee on Army Estimate?, 
of which Lord Randolph Churchill was chairman. 


^rstem after deducting its non-effective vote. I asked General 
Brackenbury whether he did not consider that the best test of 
my organisation was the number of army corps which could be 
rat into the field after making the various necessary allowances, 
nd General Brackenbury agreed that it was. Well, for an 
Bective cost of 19,300,000/. Germany can put into the field 
ineteen army corps; we are supposed to be able to put into 
be field two army corps for the sum of 14,600,000/. General 
►rackenbury said that that was a most unfair comparison — 
lat it must be recollected we have a volunteer army; that 
i is much better paid, fed, and clothed than the German Army ; 
nd that if the German Army were paid, fed, and clothed in 
be same way their expenditure would be much higher. But 
was not afraid to follow the general on that ground, and I 
sked him to add up what that expenditure would be if the 
ferman Army were paid and fed and clothed as well as the 
British Army. I found that to the 19,300,000/. should be 
ided the sum of 6,650,000/. in respect of pay, 1,300,000/. for 
efcfcer food, for clothing 300,000/., and for the item of forage 
73,000/. ; thus making a total altogether, if the pay, cloth- 
ig, and forage of the German Army were in the same style as 
nrs, of 27,900,000/. 1 add on something more. The German 
•ar authorities, no doubt, possess a fund over which the German 
arliament has no control in the indemnity which was paid 
y France in the last war. Out of this military treasury they 
wre constructed enormous fortifications, and added largely to 
ieir supply of military stores. Still, it would probably be 
ctravagant to say that they take out of the military chest more 
tan two millions of money a year. Therefore by adding on to 
te 27,900,000/. the sum of 2,000,000/. as contributions from 
le military chest, we shall arrive at a grand total of 30,000,000/. 

that for 30,000,000/., even supposing their army were kept up 

1 the more extravagant style of the British Army, the Germans 
m send into the field 19 army corps, as against 14,600,000/. 
r our two army corps, making the cost of each German army 
ops about 1,500,000/., as against an English cost per corps of 
000,000J. I think those are startling figures. You may say 
hat you like, but there must be something wrong with a system 


wliifh shows results so miserably inadequate as compared with 
those of other military systems. 

1 cannot pass away from this subject without reminding the 
House that Germany has, moreover, seventeen first-class for- 
tresses — military camps they might be called — in such condition 
tli at they are ready at the shortest notice for any emergency; 
and that she maintains her army in the most perfect equipment, 
ready to cross the frontier at a fortnight's notice. As for our 
fortresses, what have we ? We have oidy four first-class for- 
tresses — Portsmouth, Plymouth, Gibraltar, and Malta ; and we 
are told in the memorandum of the Secretary of State that every 
one of these fortresses, to make them reasonably safe, requires an 
enormous amount of money to be spent upon it. And what says 
the Secretary of State about his two army corps ? ' For the 
First Army Corps,' says the Secretary of State, l the cavalry 
division, and the troops for the line of communication, the whole 
of the necessary outfit, including clothing, arms, accoutrements, 
equipments, tents, stores, supplies, and vehicles, might have been 
said to be practically complete ' — not that they are complete — 
' except that every month produces new T demands and alterations, 
and some of the transport materiel is not of the newest pattern/ 
Hoes the Secretary of State really mean to bring forward that 
miserable excuse that constant changes in accoutrements and 
equipment have prevented him from completing the equipment 
of the First Army Corps? Those things do not change at all 
events in such short periods of time but that your First Army 
Corps at least ought to be completely equipped. The next para- 
graph is still more important. * For the remaining troops the 
equipment is partly in existence, and could probably be com- 
pleted without serious delay.' Partly ! Probably ! And yet 
the Secretary of State, after making such a statement, rebukes 
other persons for what he calls revealing our weakness to foreign 
powers ! If the House of Commons thinks what I have quoted 
a satisfactory- statement to make to the House of Commons in 
respect of the results of our military system, and if after that it 
can lightly vote supplies to a system which produces such small 
and inadequate results, the House of Commons takes a very 
remarkable view of the situation. I cannot pass from this para- 


ti without alluding to the cavalry division of the First Army 
s. Will the House believe that after providing for the 
8 of the First Army Corps there would not be left in the 
try for military purposes two thousand cavalry horses? 
the Secretary of State stand up and say that the Com- 
der-in-Chief and the military heads are responsible for this 
> of things? That is what I want to know. I wish to 
ygise to the House for detaining it at this length, but the 
er is so important that I venture to make even further 
mds upon the patience of honourable members. I wish to 
le to the question of the rifle of the British Army. Now it 
most remarkable thing that there are three distinct opera- 
i going on in the Government factories with regard to the 
of the Army. In the first place, there is a new rifle which 
ring to be manufactured in certain quantities this year and 
rger quantities next year. There is then going on the con- 
on of the Eafield-Martini rifle — and a most melancholy story 
unfolds. Two years ago we spent nearly 300,000Z. on 
ifacturing what was considered to be an excellent rifle for 
irmy, the Enfield Martini. Although a magazine rifle was 
before the War Office, the War Office decided that they 
Id not manufacture a magazine rifle but the Enfield-Martini, 
they spent the sum I have mentioned in doing so. Now 
War Office have decided that they will have a magazine 
; and thus the money spent on the Enfield-Martini has been 
lately thrown away. And what are they going to do now ? 
r are converting the Enfield-Martini, which has a smaller 
, into the Martini-Henry, which has a larger bore. That is 
second operation ; and the third operation is that they are 
inning to manufacture the Martini-Henry, although it is 
j to be superseded very soon by the magazine rifle. The 
It of all this is, that, supposing this country was invaded in 
>, there would certainly be two rifles, and probably three 
, in the hands of the British troops defending this country, 
certainly two, and probably three, different sorts of ammu- 
n. I think the House will agree that this is a sickening 
heart-breaking story. Now, is it not the case that the time 
x>me for vigorous inquiry and for radical reform ? A Royal 


Commission is asked for, and the Government do not see their 
way to assenting to the motion, at any rate in the form in which 
it stands on the paper. A Royal Commission of the ordinary 
kind would la? useless — worse than useless — because it would be 
composed of men who would meet three or four times in the 
session and adjourn over the recess, and it would be highly im- 
probable that such a Royal Commission could possibly give a 
report before next year ; probably not before three years would 
they be able to examine the mass of evidence that would fill a 
volume or two of Blue-books. In the meantime we should be 
going on as we are going on now. There are two essential 
points about a Royal Commission which must be recognised. 
Ft must be a Commission of high authority, and it must be a 
Commission which will work with the utmost expedition. I do 
not think that anybody can suppose that the need for an inquiry 
lias not arrived. If that is conceded, I tell the House that 
what we want is a Military Commission, whose function it will 
be to tell the people what they do not know — what is the real 
opinion of the military heads upon our existing military state. 
That has always been kept from the people. We have been 
asked, c Why should we know? what is the necessity for knowing 
these things? They are known to the military experts and the 
(Government know them.' The Government know it, but it has 
been kept from the public. What these high military authori- 
ties ought to do is to discover what they know, tell us what we 
want, and they ought to inquire into the cost of putting things 
in order and maintaining things in an efficient state. Such ft 
Commission might deliberate and report to the Government in 
less than six weeks, and might give to the Government and the 
country and Parliament the military opinion on these points. 
Can there be any doubt that we should be infinitelv better off 
than we are now ? 1 will read the last extract with which I 
will trouble the House ; it is from the evidence of Lord Wolseley, 
who said : ' The greatest misfortune that occurs to me upon this 
subject arises from the fact that our military requirements have 
never been inquired into — have never been tabulated or laid 
down. There is no iixed point up to which we work, whether 
it is the Commander-in-Chief or any official connected with the 


v ; we have had nothing decided by the country as to what 
xmntry wants, or as to what our military policy, its aims 
requirements are. Q. 2,642. — Then you do not know what 
B^ant ? A. — We do not know what we want. We do not 
t what we are working up to. . . . There has never been 
authoritative inquiry instituted as to what are the military 
ireraents of the empire/ He recommended a Royal Corn- 
ton to examine experts on the various topics connected with 
9ubject. If the House consents to an inquiry which is 
it, not to enlighten but to blind the country, this House 
not represent the opinions of the country. There are other 
era to which I wish to refer, but I shall not go into them 
I have said enough to let the House understand the 
ion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1886. Year by 
I had seen the expenditure growing, and year by year I 
seen the results diminishing. Year by year I had seen the 
ess and disquietude, not only in the mind of the Army but 
le mind of the public, growing deeper and stronger. I 
d that by putting that pressure on the spending depart- 
£, by cutting off the supplies —I hoped that I might force 
i and compel the heads of these departments to look into 
• own affairs and make the necessary reforms; but they 
d not. What was my position ? I was called upon to 
id an expenditure which I knew was wasteful. I knew I 
Id be called upon to sustain and maintain a system and 
itablishment which was rotten, and I concluded that my 
rable capacities were not equal to the task, and that I 
j leave it to some one more qualified than myself for such 
ty. The attitude the Government have taken up towards 
motion is one of resistance ; but what do they call upon us 
> ? To vote confidence in the existing system. I cannot 
lat, because I know it is hopelessly bad. 


Birmingham, April 9, 1888. 

[This speech was occasioned by the election of Lord Randolph 
Churchill as President of the Edgbaston Conservative Club. The 
first part of the address was devoted to a review of the general 
features of the session of 1888 down to the month of April, and to 
an examination of the relative strength of the Government and the 
Opposition. Lord Randolph then proceeded to consider the actual 
position of both parties, and the prospect before them. The necessity 
of reform in the method of Irish government was again strongly 
insisted upon in this speech.] 

TIT If AT is the reason of the profound tranquillity in Parlia- 
▼ T ment at the present time, and of the great propriety of 
demeanour on the part of the Opposition ? What is the reason 
of it all ? I am particularly anxious to bring before you the 
moral which I draw from the political position at the present 
time, because it. is a position unique in English history. The 
reason of the tranquillity which we all rejoice in at the present 
time, and which we all appreciate, is, that the Government of the 
Queen is a strong Government, but not too strong. That is the 
point I wish to bring before your notice. The Government by 
the necessities of its political position is compelled to becon- 
tinually, day by day, most cautious, always on the alert; and 
that, is what the Government of England ought to be. In the 
\ ears that 1 have been in Parliament I have seen rise and fall 
two Governments which were striking examples of Governments 
possessing great and overwhelming Parliamentary strength. I 
saw the Government — the Tory Government — which came into 
office in 1874, and I saw the Government which came into 
office— the Liberal Government — iu 1880 ; and both thow 


Governments were Governments which possessed overwhelming 
Parliamentary strength. They both, after a few years, came to 
utter grief; and I do not believe I am anticipating too much 
the province of the historian if I venture to doubt whether either 
of those Governments has left any mark on English history which 
will be to their enduring praise. Those Governments possessed 
a position of overwhelming strength in the House of Commons ; 
and the moral I draw is that the possession by a Government 
of overwhelming Parliamentary strength, and the command by 
a Government of a highly disciplined and large Parliamentary 
majority, does not always necessarily lead to good adminstration, 
but does very often induce serious Ministerial vices. It leads 
— I have seen it with my own eyes — it leads on the part of 
Ministers to undue pride ; it leads to disdainful treatment of 
remonstrances or suggestions coming from faithful followers ; it 
leads to over-confidence on the part of Ministers. Ministers 
who belong to such a Government think that they are in office 
for life, and that leads as an inevitable result to great laxity and 
great carelessness of administration. I hold that the position 
of the present Government is in many ways an ideal position, 
because it is a position which preserves them from the danger of 
falling into the defects and the faults which I have brought to 
your notice. One marked feature in the position of the present 
Government is the support of the Liberal Unionist party. That 
is a support which I would venture to call a happy mixture of 
loyalty and of independence. It is a support which is strictly 
conditional, and the conditions are highly honourable both to 
those who make them and to those who abide by them; but 
they are conditions which, if you think them over, you will find 
must make most effectually for good administration and for good 
legislation. There is another feature to which I attach equal 
importance in the position of the present Government, and that 
is the composition of the Tory party. The composition of the 
Tory party in this Parliament differs widely from that of all 
former Tory parties in the House of Commons, because the Tory 
party is mainly composed now, for the first time in its history, 
of representatives of large and populous towns, who are directly 
in touch with great masses of our fellow-countrymen, who 
VOL. n. Y 


possess their confidence, and who are always vividly bearing in 
mind the pledges by which they gained the confidence of their 
constituents; and the result is that there is in the Ton' party 
a very large and predominant section who would not be prepared 
to tolerate for one moment without a most effective and a most 
vigorous remonstrance any tendency on the part of the Govern- 
ment of the day either to inaction or to reaction. That is a 
feature of the position of the present Government to which I 
attach the utmost importance, and from which I deduce the 
brightest anticipations. There is one more reason, perhaps, 
which it is worth while to bring before you, why Parliament is 
fulfilling its duties at the present moment with so much energy 
and vigour, and in such a satisfactory manner; and that reason 
is, that for the first time in English history you have a Parlia- 
ment which directly represents the British and the Irish people, 
which faithfully and closely reflects the true public mind ; and 
no one who has ever had any experience of going about among 
the people for political purposes, or who has had any experience 
of coming before great audiences such as the present, can have 
the smallest doubt of the earnest and, I may even say, the stern 
desire of the people that the business of the nation shall be 
transacted in a creditable and satisfactory manner, and that the 
traditions of the House of Commons shall be honourably and 
permanently maintained. 

I turn to another topic of equal interest — the state of 
Ireland. Contrast the state of Ireland now with the state of 
Ireland at the time I had the honour of addressing yon last year. 
It is altogether transformed. What is the state of Ireland at 
tin- present moment? You heard a great deal this time last 
year about the Plan of Campaign. The Plan of Campaign was 
being widely adopted by the Irish tenantry, and was a purely 
illegal and violent course of action. Now you hear very little 
:il)out the Plan of Campaign, and where it is now pursued it is 
on a very limited scale and with great secrecy on the part of the 
Irish leaders. Then turn to the position of that organisation, 
the National League, and contrast it with the position of the 
National League last year. Last year it was full of activity 
and destructive energy. This year we find it comparatively 


juiet. It is, as it were, lying low ; and really except for the de- 
monstration of yesterday — which seems to have been a very half- 
learted affair, not at all supported by the bulk of the population 
>f the districts in which it took place — except for the demonstra- 
:ion of yesterday we might almost say that the National League 
For all practical purposes had ceased to ex ; st. Not only that. 
Some very unpleasant features of Irish society have been a 
great deal modified. I take boycotting, of which we heard so 
much last year — a cruel, a barbarous, and a detestable practice. 
Boycotting, as is proved by official statistics, has largely dimi- 
nished, and diminished to such an extent that really for practical 
political purposes we need hardly take count of it. More than 
that : the persons in Ireland of one class and another who were 
under special protection of the police — the number of those 
persons has also decreased. More than that : you find in Ireland 
that juries, for the first time for some years, are beginning to 
Jo their duty without fear, and that they are beginning to convict 
criminals who are justly proved to have been criminals on the 
evidence which is laid before them. The consequence is, that 
crime in Ireland no longer has the character of being committed 
with impunity. Crime in Ireland is no longer unpunished ; and 
what is the result ? I do not believe, if you go back ten years 
or more, you will find a time when crime in Ireland has been 
so slight and so insignificant as it is at the present moment. 
Suppose I turn to the position of the Irish tenantry. I learn 
on the highest authority from many quarters that contracts 
are being fairly carried out; that rents are being fairly paid 
where the ability to pay rent exists ; and that where the ability 
to pay rent does not really exist, the landlords of Ireland are 
making large and due remissions of rent, and are treating their 
tenants with all consideration. And the consequence is that 
you have in Ireland at the present moment a great revival of 
confidence and a great revival of the feeling of security. I 
do not believe that will be denied, even in the ranks of our 
opponents, by those who may be men of thought and of informa- 
tion. If that is the case, we may be satisfied with the great 
justification which that affords of the line which we, the Unionist 
party, take on Irish matters. But we must be careral to be 



on our guard against the danger of relying too exclusively 
on what is called a coercion policy, or what I should call a 
strong and a severe administration of the law. I have seen 
two (iovernments, gentlemen, make that error. I saw the Tory 
(Jovernment of 1874 make that error, and I saw Mr. Gladstone's 
Government of J 880 make that error. Having been goaded 
into passing exceptional measures for the government of Ireland, 
and finding that those exceptional measures produced the results 
which they were sure to produce if they were properly adminis- 
tered — viz. tranquillity and order — they were disposed to rely 
solely upon the results of those measures, and were apathetic 
and indisposed to recur to what I would call the more perma- 
nent, the more lasting remedies for Irish grievances. Gentle- 
men, against that we must be on our guard, because we have 
the lessons of the past to inform us. I hold that the present 
Government are perfectly right, perfectly justified, in making 
the present session of Parliament a British session. I trust 
that they will pass many measures which will tend to the 
development of British prosperity ; but I must remind you that 
there is much to be done in Ireland in the way of legislation, 
and I think that probably next session, we shall find, will he 
to a great extent an Irish session. We owe much to Ireland. 
Ireland has gone through great social crises, great political 
crises, on account of the blunders or the shortcomings of 
British administration; and we Unionists have alwavs asserted 
that it is in our power to do as much for the prosperity of 
Ireland through the machinery of the Imperial Parliament as 
Ireland could do if she possessed a Parliament of her own. 
Therefore T venture, in this time of comparative tranquillity. 
and in this time of comparative promise, to put in a word of 
timely warning, and to remind you, who represent the rank and 
file and strength of the Unionist party, that, whether on the 
land question in Ireland, or whether on the question of local 
government, or whether on the question of Irish education, 
there is much which Parliament can do, and much which Par- 
liament must do ; and 1 rejoice at the present condition of Ireland, 
at its tranquillised condition, because I believe that if that condi- 
tion continues as it ought to continue, we shall find the House 


of Commons next session most busily and arduously engaged in 
the solution of the three great Irish problems — of the land, the 
development of Irish local liberty, and the education question. 

I pass from the state of Ireland, and I come to another 
subject of great importance and great interest at the present 
moment, and that is the Bill which has been introduced by the 
present Administration for the government of our rural districts. 
That is perhaps the largest question that Parliament will be 
called upon to deal with for some years, but the Government 
have acted wisely in dealing with a large question in a large 
spirit. The foundation of the Bill which they have introduced 
is like the foundation of the British Constitution — a purely 
democratic foundation. I was never more relieved in my life 
than when I found there was no nonsense in that Bill with 
regard to the plural vote, with regard to ex officio representation, 
or with regard to proportionate representation. It is a Bill 
based upon a purely democratic foundation. Every ratepayer 
will have an equal voice in the selection of a representative for 
the government of local affairs. Not only have the Govern- 
ment proposed to constitute councils for the administration of 
localities which are to be elected in a purely democratic manner, 
but they have given to these councils large, responsible, and 
heavy duties ; and to aid them in the performance of those 
duties they have given them large financial resources and 
authority. On this question of the new county councils, a pro- 
position which I believe to be as great and as wide, and almost 
as revolutionary — I use that word in a good sense — a proposi- 
tion as has ever been proposed, the only danger I see is, that 
the county councils may be tempted into financial extravagance. 
That is the principal danger. You constitute a new body, you 
give it great duties, you give it considerable financial resources ; 
and that body, fearful, perhaps, of risking its popularity with 
those who elected it, prefers for its expenditure to have recourse 
to a mortgage on the future rather than on the pockets of those 
who called it together. That is a great danger. It has been a 
danger which to some extent your town councils have fallen 
into ; and if we learn a lesson from the operations of our town 
councils and of our corporations, we shall be very careful to 


restrict very rigidly aiid very severely the borrowing powers 
of the new county councils ; and I think it would bean improve- 
ment, and a proposal worthy of consideration, either absolutely 
to prohibit the new county councils from contracting a loan 
under any circumstances whatever, or, if they want to contract 
a loan, to force them to go to Parliament, lay their case before 
Parliament, and to get the law passed to give them power for 
the special purposes which they require to borrow for. That, 
1 think, would be an improvement on the Bill, and if we can 
put in the way of these county councils, in their recourse to 
loans. 1 will not say an insuperable obstacle, but a great fence 
which they will find it most difficult to jump without a fall, I 
believe we shall obviate the only real, serious danger which 
attaches to the proposals which the Government have made. 
fT know there are objections brought against the Bill by our 
I opponents to the effect that it does not go far enough, that 
there ought to have been included within the duties of the 
county councils the administration of the Poor Law and the 
administration of education. On that point I have only this to 
say — and I think it is an effectual answer — that nothing would 
have been more imprudent and nothing more foolish or short- 
sighted than to overweight these new bodies at the outset of 
their career. They have been given large duties. Suppose 
they get to work rapidly, and suppose they work well, nothing 
will be easier than to proceed to a further amalgamation and a 
further consolidation of our local government ; nothing will be 
easier than to hand over to them the administration of the 
Poor Law and the administration of education; but I think 
you probably would have broken them down at the outset, you 
might have destroyed all their chances of success, if you had 
given them, in addition to the duties given them under the Bill 
now before Parliament, the heavy duties, the difficult duties of 
the administration of the Poor Law and of education in this 
count ry. 1 know 1 he Radical party were terribly flustered and 
taken aback when this Bill was introduced. They could not 
believe it was possible the Tory party would introduce so good a 
Bill. I had been telling them for a long time that if the Tory 
party got a chance of legislating, they would legislate wisely 


and well. But they paid no attention to me, and they were 
terribly put about and terribly disappointed when the Tory 
Government produced a Bill which, by the consent of all, was 
an admirable measure, and they consoled themselves with the 
thought that the Bill could not possibly pass into law. They 
said, ' The Bill will not pass, that is one great comfort.' Well, 
why should it not pass ? I believe it will pass. I believe so 
for several reasons. . I believe it will pass, because I know that 
the Government are determined to pass it ; and I believe it will 
pass, because I do not know who is going to oppose it. The 
country gentlemen are not going to oppose it. The country 
gentlemen have had opportunities lately in their meetings at 
quarter sessions of considering the Bill, and I think that, with 
hardly an exception, the great body of country gentlemen have 
accepted the principle of the Bill. The country gentlemen have 
acted, with regard to this Bill, with that patriotism and that 
broadness of mind and that strong common sense which through- 
out history have distinguished the country gentlemen of 
England, and the possession of which has given to English 
country gentlemen that great and high position which they 
possess and have possessed. The country gentlemen consider- 
ing this Bill have come to the conclusion that the Bill is a 
sound Bill, that the principles of the Bill contain nothing in 
reality revolutionary ; and the country gentlemen, although un- 
doubtedly they had pride, and rightly had pride, in their own 
limited administration of county affairs, have come to the con- 
. elusion that the duties which are to be placed upon those new 
bodies are far too large and too heavy to be performed by a body 
which was not thoroughly representative and elective, and they 
have come to the conclusion that, for the proper administration 
of local affairs, and for the more simplified and, I hope, for the 
more economical administration of local affairs, it was their duty 
to accept this Bill, to give the best of their experience and the 
best of their knowledge and the best of their energy towards 
the good working of this measure, and to put aside altogether 
any personal feeling of prejudice or of, perhaps, disappointed 
ambition which might have tended to make them disapprove of 
or oppose the measure. Nothing that I know of in the history 


of English country gentlemen has been more creditable to them 
than their acceptance in principle of the great proposals which 
have been laid before Parliament with regard to local government. 
But who else is going to oppose ? The country gentlemen 
are not going to oppose. Are the licensed victuallers going to 
oppose it ? Well, I do not think they will ; besides, if they do 
it does not much matter ; because, suppose they were to carry on 
an effectual opposition to the Bill, we must recollect that the 
licensing clauses are not essential to the Bill. By no means. 
They might be dropped out of the Bill, and the Bill might 
equally well pass into law. 1 But I have this to say to the 
licensed victuallers, and it is really the sincere warning of a 
friend, that if they do succeed either in destroying this Bill, or 
in throwing out of the Bill the part which affects their interests, 
of this they may be certain, that they never will get such terms 
again as are offered to them in this Bill. Never— : never. Their 
interests are recognised under this Bill as vested interests, and 
for those interests they are entitled in one form or another to 
receive compensation, and if they are so imprudent as to throw 
away the offers which are now made to them by a Government 
essentially Conservative, and by a Government which, I think I 
may say, is naturally their friend, they will have made a mistake 
which before many months, and certainly before more than two or 
three years jire over, they will bitterly and unavailingly regret? 
Who, then, will oppose the Bill ? If the country gentlemen and 
the licensed victuallers, who are sensible and practical people, do 
not oppose the Bill, will the temperance party oppose the Bill? 
Well, 1 have great sympathies with the temperance party. I 
do not think they are at all sensible or practical people. But I 
thoroughly respect the object at which they aim, and I am in 
entire accord with the great national object of reducing as far 
as possible and practicable our great national expenditure upon 
alcoholic liquor. The temperance party will surely recognise 
that the great principle of local option is embalmed and enshrined 
in the Bill, though that principle may not be carried to the 

1 ThLs was what really happened. The licensing clauses were all with* 
drawn, thp opposition to them having proceeded to some extent from the 
licen>ed victuallers as well as from the temperance party. 


extreme length which they would wish, and though it may not 
be likely to produce the extreme effect which they desire to 
produce. Still the principle of local option is there, and the 
temperance party, I think, will not be foolish enough to imperil 
the acceptance by Parliament of the principle of local option by 
any unholy alliance either with unscrupulous Radicals, or un- 
scrupulous licensed victuallers, or people of that kind. 1 Therefore 
I look in vain for the quarter where any opposition to this great 
Bill is to come from. When Mr. Gladstone introduced the Reform 
Bill of 1884 he admitted that there were many shortcomings 
in that Bill, but he appealed to Parliament to pass it, * because,' 
he said, ' it is in itself a great Bill and a good Bill. Do not risk 
it/ And so I, speaking to you, and speaking, if I might, to the 
classes whom I have alluded to, say, c Do not risk this Bill. 
Use all your influence in whatever way you possess influence, 
whether you possess it locally or outside the limits of your 
locality, to put pressure upon those who are your friends to pass 
this Bill into law. 1 Just as the reform of the municipal corpor- 
ations was the natural sequence of the great Parliamentary 
reform of 1832, so the reform of your county government is the 
natural sequence of the great Parliamentary Reform Bill of 
1884. And just as the effect of the Municipal Corporations 
Bill was excellent on the whole and beneficial to your town popu- 
lation, so, I believe, will be the effect of the Local Government 
Bill now before Parliament upon the interests of your rura 
population. Where you have, 1 regret to say, at the present 
moment political stagnation and political inactivity, you will 
have, under the operation of this Bill, political circulation and 
brisk political activity ; and I cannot but think that the condition 
of the labouring classes in our rural districts must be sensibly 
elevated and sensibly improved when the labouring classes feel 
and know that, for the first time in English history, the manage- 
ment of their own local affairs and the development of their local 
interests are absolutely in their own power. 

[After referring to the Budget then before the House of 

1 The temperance party resisted the licensing clauses because they em- 
bodied the principle of compensation for interference with public-houses. It 
waa maintained that by this principle a right of property in connection with 
the liquor traffic was established for the hist time. 


Commons, and subsequently greatly modified, Lord Randolph 
Churchill made a concluding reference to the question, What is 
a Tory democracy ?] 

I should like to have dwelt upon the subject of imperial 
expenditure and of the great importance of economy in the 
public service. But the question is too large to begin upon at 
this hour of the evening. It will keep for another occasion. 
There is a great deal to be said on it, and the progress which 
we have made has been very small, and there is an immense deal of 
work to be done in that direction. But, to bring all these 
remarks of mine to a conclusion, I go back upon the observations 
which I made at the commencement of my speech. I think I 
have shown you by actual proof, whether in the proceedings of 
the House of Commons, whether in the state of Ireland, whether 
in the legislation proposed to the House of Commons, or whether 
in the financial propositions, that the political sky is serene, 
and that the prospects of our party are bright and hopeful. I 
can truly say that such a state of things is most satisfactory to 
me personally, because I cannot but feel that we have nearly 
realised what was some years ago apparently only a dream, the 
dream of Tory democracy. You remember with what scoffs and 
scornings and with what sneers and ridicule the phrase ' Tory 
democracy ' was received when I first made use of it in the Honse 
of Commons in the year 1882. Nothing was too bad, nothing 
was too taunting, nothing was too absurd to apply to the idea, 
or to those who dared to sustain such an idea in public. You in 
Birmingham were the first publicly to associate yourselves with 
the policy which is contained in the phrase Tory democracy. 
What is Tory democracy ? Tory democrcy is a democracy which 
supports the Tory party ; but with this important qualification, 
that it supports a Tory party, not from mere caprice, not from 
momentary disgust or indignation with the results of Radicalism, 
but a democracy which supports the Tory party because it has 
been taught by experience and by knowledge to believe in the 
excellence and the soundness of true Tory principles. Bnt Tory 
democracy involves also another idea of equal importance. It 
involves the idea of a Government who in all branches of their 
policy aud in all features of their administration are 


by lofty and by liberal ideas. That is Tory democracy. It may 
be that I am premature in thinking that we have attained 
absolutely and permanently that great ideal in our political life ; 
but, at any rate, surely it is not too much to say that we are on 
the high road to that end. I rejoice exceedingly at the present 
state of things for two reasons — in the first place, because for 
this idea you and I and others have laboured long and hard ; 
and, secondly, because it is in the realisation of that idea that I 
believe, and that 1 know, will be found the real strength of the 
empire and the only hope of Britain. 



House of Commons, April 25, 1888. 

[This speech gave some offence to many members of the Tory 
party, who had forgotten, or had never properly acquainted them- 
selves with, Lord Randolph's Churchill's previous uncompromising 
declarations on the same subject. Not by Coercion Bills alone can 
any party hope to govern Ireland or settle the ' Irish Question. 
This was the burden of all Lord Randolph's Irish speeches ; but be- 
cause some people chose to shut their ears to it, they accused 
the speaker of inconsistency. The very demand for * simultaneity ' 
in dealing with local government for England and Ireland, which 
was made in the speech of August 1886, was enough to prove that 
Lord Randolph was not now taking up a new position. That demand, 
as he here stated to the House of Commons, was fully recognised by 
Lord Salisbury's Government. Their opinions had changed, and it 
may Ixj urged that circumstances had also changed ; but it cannot 
for a moment be affirmed that Lord Randolph Churchill was to 
blame for this, or that he had receded from an attitude which he 
still held to be sound and wise. In this, as on so many other ques- 
tions, it was the party itself which had shifted its ground — not Lord 
Randolph Churchill.] 

IN all the now not inconsiderable number of years during 
which I have been in this House, I have never found 
myself placed in so difficult a position as at the present moment. 
The question of local government in Ireland is by no means a 
novelty. Parties have taken up different attitudes upon this ques- 
tion after long deliberation and much discussion, and the respec- 
tive attitudes of those parties cannot, I think, be lightly changed* 
I observed in the speech of the right honourable gentleman * 
who has just sat down a strong tendency to a coarse of opinion 
and policy which would not, to my mind, if carried out prac- 
1 Mr. Balfour, Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. 


tically, be at all in accordance with the attitude taken up 
upon local government in Ireland by what, I believe, is the vast 
majority of the Unionist party. The Chief Secretary must be 
aware, although he was not in the Cabinet at the time I am 
going to speak of, that at the critical, the very anxious, and 
the very difficult moment at which Lord Salisbury's Govern- 
ment succeeded to power, they had, within a comparatively brief 
period, to decide upon what policy they would announce to 
Parliament as representing mainly the Tory party, and to a 
great extent the whole of the Unionist party, with regard to 
local government in Ireland. All the circumstances upon which 
the Chief Secretary has enlarged this afternoon, or, at any rate, 
circumstances of a very similar character showing all the defects 
which exist at the present moment in the working of popular 
institutions in Ireland, and showing all the dangers that might 
be anticipated from the extension of popular institutions or the 
establishment of new ones, were before the Government of Lord 
Salisbury at the time when they had to take a decision — a most 
momentous decision — with reference to this question. It has 
been supposed — and this supposition I have never before noticed, 
although it has been rather widely given effect to in the press — 
that in the declaration which it was my duty to make at that 
table in August 188G ! I was stating that which was more my 
own opinion than the opinion of her Majesty's Government. I 
think it right to say that that was not so in any degree what- 
ever. The declaration which I made at that table at that time 
was, as far as it related to Ireland, a written declaration. Every 
sentence of it, I might almost go as far as to say every word of 
it, represented the opinions of the Government, and had been 
_ submitted to and assented to by the Prime Minister himself, 
[ and by the Chief Secretary for Ireland of that day. 2 More than 
that : the declaration I made with regard to Ireland — I recollect 
it as well as if I had made it yesterday — I made without one 
dissentient voice, and without one dissentient murmur being 
raised among the honourable gentlemen who belong to the Tory 
■ party. More than that : I was given to understand in the 
plainest way that the declaration of the Government thus made 
• See vol ii., p. 66. * Sir Michael Hicks-Beach. 


received the full and entire approval of the leaders of the Liberal 
Unionist party. But why am I anxious to dwell upon tht*>»- 
matters ? It is because on this point, which, I fear, is likely 
to raise some difference of opinion before long, if it does imr 
now, the idea of the Government at that time was that a certain 
just extension, within reasonable limits, of local government in 
Ireland was to be looked upon as a remedy for the great evik 
which have been dwelt upon by the Chief Secretary this after- 
noon. I venture to say that if those who are on this side of 
the House will carry back their minds to the terrible struggle 
in which we had all to take part, in 1886 — one in which I may 
without egotism claim to have borne no inconsiderable j>art — 
they must agree that there is not a single member of the Unionist 
party who would under the stress of that struggle have stood 
up on an English platform, and taken the line upon the 
extension of local government in Ireland which has been 
assumed this afternoon by speakers representing the Unionist 
party. I feel certain that there are none (murmurs of dissent) 
— well, very few. It fell to my lot to have to watch very closely 
the course of that election, and the attitude taken up on thi* 
question by members of the Tory party at that time : and I do 
recollect that the pledges given by the Unionist party were 
large and liberal, were distinct and full, and that there was no 
reservation in those pledges, with respect to all the defects 
pointed out this afternoon in the Irish character and in respect 
of Irish unfitness for local government — nothing of the kind. 
We pledged ourselves that we would at the very earliest oppor- 
tunity extend to Ireland the same amount of local government 
which we might give to England and Scotland. I venture to 
say — and I do not care how much I am contradicted or what 
the consequences may be — that that was the fonndation of the 
I'uionist party, and I venture "to say more—that that is the 
only platform on which you can resist Repeal. If yon are going 
to the English people, relying merely upon the strength of your 
executive power — if you are going to preach to the English 
people that the Irish must for an indefinite time be looked upon 
as an inferior com in unity — that they are in every respect unfit 
for the privileges which the English people themselves enjoy— 


then I tell you that you may retain that position for a time, but 
only for a time, and that the time will probably be a short one. 
1 do not know whether I am justified in asserting that the 
Chief Secretary, in representing the policy of the Government 
on this Bill, wishes the House and the public to understand that 
the question of local government in Ireland is to be dealt with 
only when, in the opinion of the Government, the state of the 
country will be so tranquil or so orderly as to justify it. 
(Ministerial cheers.) Yes, that may be cheered ; but that was 
not your position at the general election. Are we to understand 
that in the event of Parliament settling the great principles of 
local government for England this year, they will be prepared 
next year, so far as circumstances will permit, to extend similar 
privileges to Ireland ? The words I used in representing the 
Government at that table were, that in approaching this momen- 
tous question of local government we should do so with similarity, 
equality, and simultaneity, as far as the circumstances of the 
three countries would permit. The time has gone by altogether 
for me to bear, and I will be content no longer to bear, solely, 
the responsibility of those words, in which I represented the 
policy of the Government ; and I do not think that there would 
be a bond jide carrying out of the policy I then announced if 
Ireland is not to have a measure of local government until the 
state of order in that country is satisfactory to the Executive 
Government. The history of the question of Irish local govern- 
ment is somewhat interesting, but we on this side of the House, 
who pride ourselves on being a progressive party, must take care 
that we do not expose ourselves to a well-sustained indictment 
of being responsible for a reactionary policy. The House will 
remember that the Tory party have already dealt, or attempted 
to deal, with local government in Ireland. You must go back 
a great many years — I do not know whether that attempt is 
within the knowledge of the Chief Secretary or of any of his 
colleagues, but it happens to be within my knowledge, because 
I have for many years closely followed the course of Irish affairs. 
Is the Chief Secretary aware that at a period of Irish history 
when the state of the country was in no respect better than it 
is now, the Tory Government proposed a Bill for the county 


government of Ireland which provided for the abolition of gram! 
juries, and for the establishment of an elected representative 
council, and with respect to that county council there was only 
this main difference between that Bill and the Bill proposed to- 
day — that under this Bill the barony is to elect three repre- 
sentatives, under the former Bill the ratepayers were to elect 
two representatives and the justices one ? Who was the person 
who introduced that Bill into the House of Commons ? It was 
that pure representative of unbending Toryism the Right Honour- 
able James Lowther, without any exception most representing 
the nti plus ultra of unadulterated Toryism. What will be onr 
position if, having in the year 1879, when the Tory Government 
in respect of executive power was very differently situated to 
what it is at present, proposed a Bill for the county government 
of Ireland, we now decline to give to Ireland local privilege? 
which we are willing to give to England until we are satisfied 
that those local privileges will not be abused, and that the state 
of the country is perfectly tranquil ? It would have been im- 
possible for me, having taken the line I have taken in the 
country, in this House, and in the position which I had the 
honour to occupy — it would have been impossible for me, con- 
sistently with common honesty, to have sat silent and allowed 
it to be supposed that I personally associated myself with the 
views which seem to have been expressed by the Chief Secretary 
and by certain Irish members on this side of the House to-day. 
Jt often happens that I am asked to go down into the country 
to address audiences, and when I go down I never loee an 
opportunity of telling the people to the best of my ability that 
it is the intention of the Ton* party — the Unionist party— to 
legislate largely and liberally for the removal of Irish grievances. 
(Cheers.) Yes, but I claim a specific performance of that pledge. 
I look for a hoini jiflr and a prompt interpretation of it; and 
though honourable members do not in the least object to my 
winning applause at great mass meetings in the country by the 
utterance of such opinions, there seems to be a considerable 
difference of opinion when I attempt to carry them to a practical 
conclusion. At any rate 1 have made my protest. I have de- 
clined to remain silent under what I believe to be not anlv • 


departure from the original policy of the Government, but what 
is also, I think, a ruinous line to follow. If you give to the 
Irish the same liberties which you give to the English, and 
if you tell them that after you have settled the English local 
government measure you will give to them the same or similar 
privileges, you will do much to mitigate the ill-feeling that has 
been produced in recent years, and you will do much to wile 
away from the ranks of the right honourable gentleman opposite 
many who are now following him because they despair, and not 
unreasonably despair, of getting from a Government on this side 
of the House the legislation which they desire. It is very well 
now for you to think that a general election is far off, that your 
position is still a very strong one, and that nothing can hurt it. 
You may persist in an attitude which is a denial to Ireland of 
what are her rights ; but the day will come when you will have 
to argue this question again before the English people, when you 
will have to point to the fact that the promises you made with 
regard to local government in Ireland have not been redeemed. 
If an election came next year you would have to admit that ; 
and nobody can tell when an election may come. At any rate, 
you defeated the policy of Repeal which was advocated by the 
right honourable gentleman opposite, but you defeated it only 
because the nation believed you would not withhold from Ireland 
for one day longer than Parliamentary possibility allowed the 
same liberties which you claim for your own people. I shall 
certainly not vote for this particular Bill ; viewing the inter- 
pretation which has been placed by the Chief Secretary on the 
amendment, I cannot conscientiously consent to vote for the 
amendment. Therefore I shall be obliged to follow the most 
unpleasant course of taking no part in the division ; but I wish 
the House, and those outside the House who may look upon me 
as at all responsible for Irish policy, to know that I adhere in 
their integrity, their fulness, and their distinctness to the pledges 
which I made at that table as representing the Government of 
the Queen and the Unionist party — that a large and liberal 
measure of local government would be meted out *lo Ireland 
without undue delay. 




Preston, May 16, 1888. 

[It will be observed that in this speech the duty of the Conserva- 
tive party to carry out reform of Local Government in Ireland was 
again urged, and it is worthy of being placed on record that the im- 
mense audience, thoroughly representative of Lancashire, received 
these remarks with hearty approval. The necessity of reform in the 
public service, one of the great features of Lord Randolph's domes- 
tic policy, was also most thoroughly endorsed by the meeting. It 
was only by a limited section of the press or the party that attempts 
were still made to discredit this policy. The absurd charge that 
Lord Randolph Churchill was endeavouring to cripple the defences of 
the country was once more thoroughly disposed of in this speech, 
lie showed that the effect of his policy would be to prevent waste and 
jobbery, and greatly to strengthen all our resources.] 

I ASSURE you that it is with feelings of unusual gratifica- 
tion and pleasure that I find myself in Preston this evening. 
It recalls to me pleasant recollections, because I remember 
that I was here in the last days of 1880, in this very building, 
addressing a large and important meeting, 1 and I look back 
14)011 that meeting with feelings of peculiar interest, because it 
was the first public meeting of any importance or any considerable 
dimensions which 1 had had the honour of addressing, and the 
great indulgence and the cordial welcome which the inhabitants 
of Preston accorded me on that occasion, and the patience and 
generosity with which they listened to the remarks which I then 
made — I, who at that time occupied a position of the utmost 

1 See vol. i., p. 11, for the speech delivered at that time. 


insignificance in the political world — were really, I may say, the 
main and principal cause which has induced me in all subsequent 
times never to shrink, never to hesitate, from laying my opinions 
on political matters frankly and freely before great assemblies 
of my countrymen. In 1880 was my first experience of ad- 
dressing a public meeting and my first visit for a political 
purpose to Lancashire. Since then I have often had the honour 
of addressing Lancashire audiences. I have always accustomed 
myself to look upon Lancashire as, I may say, the mainspring 
of the Tory party in England, and I have never addressed a 
public meeting in Lancashire without going back to political 
life and political work with renewed energy and renewed hope. 
Since the end of the year 1880 many things have happened. 
Many changes have taken place, but as far as I can make out 
in Preston you have not much changed. The Tory party here 
occupies at the present moment, as it did in the year 1880, 
the position of proud and indomitable preponderance which 
was so manifest in the dark days of that period. Now you have 
become so strong, and your opponents are relatively so feeble, 
that I have a sort of idea you have within recent years once 
or twice permitted yourselves the luxury of slight differences 
of opinion amongst yourselves — a most wholesome and healthy 
exercise so long as you are perfectly convinced that the enemy 
can derive no advantage from the dispute. It must be, to those 
friends of mine who are on this platform, and who are members 
of Parliament, a most encouraging spectacle — the spectacle of 
a great town like Preston, one of the leading manufacturing towns 
of England, and one of the glories of England — that a town such 
as that should through so many years and over so long a period, 
through good report and evil report, through good fortune and 
through ill-fortune, have steadfastly and unhesitatingly adhered 
to the principles which the Tory party profess. 

The Tory party has changed since those days in one very 
material feature. In 1880, when 1 was last in Preston, the Tory 
party was in the position of a weak minority in the House of 
Commons. It had before it long and weary years, apparently, 
of hopeless opposition ; but now its position has totally altered. 
It occupies the most powerful position in the House of Commons; 

s 2 


and the destinies of the Empire and the ruling of the for- 
tunes of the people of this country are now in the hands of 
a Tory administration. In 1880, when I was here last, the 
whole of the remarks which I ventured to address to the meet- 
ing were directed to the state of Ireland. At the time Ireland 
was a subject uppermost in men's minds, as it indeed occupies 
them now. Ireland was just then either commencing, or had 
altogether entered upon, a terrible period of disorder, of anarchy, 
almost of revolution, a period marked by much crime, by much 
illegality, by much suffering, and by much distress. That was 
a period when what might be called Gladstonian remedies were 
being tried in Ireland under circumstances of apparently the 
most favourable character. Nothing at that time could resist 
Mr. Gladstone's Government. He had a free hand. He had no 
opposition to deal with worth speaking of. He was at liberty to 
work his will in Ireland, and that will he certainly worked, and 
with what effect did he work it ? He tried the severest repres- 
sion. He tried concessions to popular agitation of the most reck- 
less kind, and what was the result ? For five years in Ireland 
law and order practically ceased to exist. For five years in Ire- 
land the Government of the Queen had no hold upon the people, 
and I suspect it is the bitter recollection of those five years of 
Irish government which more than anything else gives us * 
warning never again, if we can help it, to ran the risk, under 
any circumstances whatever, of placing Mr. Gladstone at tie 
head of the British Government. 

Compare the state of Ireland now with the state of Ireland 
in 1881. What is the state of Ireland now? It is not at- 
tempted to be denied that order is being restored in that 
country ; that law is now recognised and asserted ; that all 
lawful contracts are being fairly carried out and fairly abided 
by ; that occupiers of the land are paying the rents for the land 
which they contracted to pay ; and, moreover, the land is to a 
large extent being purchased by the occupiers from the land- 
lords, and to a large extent the occupying tenantry of Ireland 
are, by the facilities which the law has placed in their power, 
assuming to themselves the responsibilities of freeholds!*—* 
great guarantee for the future tranquillity of the country* Bnt 


more than that, the prices of produce are rising ; they have 
risen most remarkably within the last six months, and the 
danger of failure or of distress arising from very low prices has 
been practically removed. A friend of mine once told me that 
some one once said to Mr. O'Connell, ' Why don't you get up an 
agitation on this question of Ireland?' And Mr. O'Connell 
said, ' How can you get up an agitation when butter is fifty-six 
shillings a firkin ? ' And so I think that, as an agitation in 
Ireland depends mainly on real agricultural distress, the fact 
should be brought to your notice that since October last store 
cattle have risen 11. per head in price. On all these grounds 
Her Majesty's Government occupy, perhaps, a stronger posi- 
tion in Ireland than any Government has occupied for many 
years. They possess — I am glad they do possess — very large 
powers for asserting the supremacy of the law among the 
Irish people. But not only do they possess those powers, 
but as far as I can judge they are being rewarded with con* 
siderable success, simply because they are fighting a dying 
agitation. With the people who have lived on agitation the 
most powerful influences have been at work. I allude to the 
remarkable pronouncement of the Pope with regard to the 
proceedings and methods by which the National League in 
Ireland has hitherto sustained this desperate agitation. 1 Those 
methods have been condemned by the highest religious autho- 
rity whom the bulk of the Irish people recognise. Other 
Governments in former days often longed for such an interven- 
tion and such a pronouncement from the Church of Rome. 
Other Governments in former days have often earnestly striven 
to obtain such a pronouncement, but they did not succeed ; and 
it is not to be denied that persons who have been involved in 
the management of Irish affairs, and persons who have been 
interested in the fortunes of that country, have often deeply 
regretted that the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland had not as 
a rule been found on the side of law and order in that country. 
I cannot venture on that account to cast upon them any severe 
censure. It required, I consider, great moral courage and the 

1 A decree from the Vatican had recently denounced the * Plan of Cam- 
paign,' and incidentally condemned the National League. 


exercise of very high statesmanship on the part of the Rona 
Pontiff to make the pronouncement with regard to Irish ag*! 
tion which he has recently made. We must recollect that r 
Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland are dependent for their lei 
poral support upon the Irish people. Irish people, moreovw 
make an offering of a most respectable, and indeed. I may sar 
of ib most generous character to the annual revenues of the H<»i; 
See : and it has been very difficult — and I quite understand thr 
difficulties in which the clergy of the Roman Catholic Hiurcl 
have found themselves — for them to set themselves in open am 
strong hostility to an agitation in Ireland wliich was genuinely 
a national agitation ; and we cannot pronounce hasty blann 
because the attitude of the Catholic clergy in Ireland has no 
been in recent years of that character which we might hav 

There is one thing which confirms me in my view of th 
improved state of Ireland, and I say it in no disparaging 
whatever of the recent action of the Vatican. The one thin; 
wliich makes me feel certain that the agit ition, which has prove 
such a stumbling-block to other Governments, is dying out. i 
that I do not think if that agitation had not been dying ou 
if that agitation had not ceased to be a genuinely national agiti 
tion, the Church of Rome would have ventured to take up tl 
strong position which it has taken. At any rate we have tl 
fact, and a most important fact it is, that there has emanatt 
from the Vatican a forcible condemnation of the methods \ 
wliich the National League sustain their agitation in Irelan 
1 said a few moments ago that the intervention of the Church 
Rome on the side of the Executive Government, on the side 
law and order in Ireland, had often been hoped for and oft 
tried for. I observe from the speeches of members of the Rep* 
party in England and Ireland, and I am informed also that 
the opinion of Mr. Gladstone himself, the action of the Pu 
has been a most injudicious action, an action which will ha 
no good effect, on Ireland at all. But, curiously enough, wh 
they express this opinion, they also commit themselves to * 
pivssions of the greatest possible indignation against Her SI 
jesty's Government, whom they suspect of having prompted t 


action of the Pope. Bat, on this subject, as on so many others, 
Mr. Gladstone is terribly embarrassed by former utterances and 
former actions. It will be no surprise to you to learn, or to 
be reminded, that although many Ministers, including Lord 
Palmerston and Lord Derby, have tried to get the Church of 
Rome on the side of law and order in Ireland, no Minister 
made more desperate efforts to gain that support than Mr. 
Gladstone himself. Have we forgotten the Errington mission ? 
If ever a negotiation descended to the level of intrigue— ay, 
and a very shabby intrigue — that negotiation was the Errington 
mission, for which Mr. Gladstone's Government, and Lord 
Granville in particular, were responsible. What was the object 
of the Errington mission, the main object or the particular peg 
rather, on which it at last most utterly broke down ? It 
Was no less than this : that an unavowed and secret agent of 
the British Government — a spy, as it were, of the British 
Government in the courts of the Vatican — attempted to come 
between the free choice of the clergy of the diocese of Dublin 
^nd the decision of the Pope, and to get the Pope to nominate 
»*s Archbishop of Dublin a certain Dr. Moran, in opposition to 
tihe wishes of the clergy of the diocese of Dublin, who had 
elected Dr. Walsh. 1 That was the object of Mr. Gladstone's 
Government for which Mr. Errington was sent out to Rome. 
Dr. Walsh was a priest, a most eminent and respectable cleric, 
Xvho represented strong Nationalist views, and Dr. Moran was 
(supposed to represent more directly the views which had been 
held by Cardinal Cullen, of whom, I believe, he was a rela- 
tive. But imagine Mr. Gladstone, who now with all his 
followers finds so much fault with the Government for being 
suspected of interfering with the actions of the Roman Pontiff, 
imagine that Mr. Gladstone, who through Mr. Errington en- 
deavoured to upset the free nomination of the clergy of the 

1 In the House of Commons (August 3, 1885) Mr. O'Brien read a letter 
from Sir G. Errington to Lord Granville, in which the writer spoke of the 
' strong pressure ' he could bring to bear upon the Pope, and announced his 
intention of keeping ' the Vatican in good humour about you.* At this time 
it was denied that Sir G. Errington represented the Government in any way 
at the Vatican. Sir G. Errington was in the House when the letter referred 
to was read, and did not deny its au t h e n t icity. 


diocese of Dublin and impose on that diocese an archbishop 
whom the diocese of Dublin would not elect, now accusing the 
Government of intriguing with Rome. I cannot find that the 
action of the Pope, which undoubtedly is action of immense weight 
and value to the cause of law and order in Ireland, has in any 
way been prompted or promoted, directly or indirectly, by the 
present Government. If the present Government had any agent 
in Rome, that agent was an avowed agent. He was an agent 
who went out with an avowed mission. He occupied one of the 
highest positions any gentleman can occupy in this county. I 
am alluding to the Duke of Norfolk, who brought to the Pope 
the congratulations of our Queen on the completion of the 
jubilee of His Holiness. I think it is extremely rational to 
suppose that the Duke of Norfolk represented to his Holiness 
the views which were held generally by the vast majority of the 
English people as to the state of things in Ireland, and as to 
the remedies which that state of things required. But we have 
it on the highest authority that there was no official communi- 
cation of any sort or kind on that subject. The action of the 
Pope — and that makes it all the more valuable — has been purely 
spontaneous, because long before the Duke of Norfolk went to 
Rome the Pope sent his own agent to Ireland, for he had reason 
to doubt whether he was receiving accurate reports from that 
country, and he sent his own agent to Ireland to report exactly 
as to what was occurring ; and it is upon the report of his own 
agent that he has taken action, and that action has been a 
purely spontaneous action, and it has not only been spontaneous, 
but it has been most deliberate. More than a year and a half 
elapsed before the Vatican authorities would bring themselves 
to pronounce a final decision. It has been spontaneous and it 
has been deliberate, and as it has not been the result of a 
scrubby intrigue like the Errington mission, as it will be valu- 
able, so it will be weighty, so it will be accepted by the people 
of Ireland. What 1 am leading up to is this, that yon have 
three forces for good working in Ireland. The first force is a 
negative force: it is the collapse of the agitation — the collapse 
of the agitation from the sheer process of the conflagration 
burning itself out. The second force for good is the advanta- 


8&OU8 position which the Government occupy for the preserva- 
toon of law, the restoration of tranquillity, and the revival of 
°*>xifidenee and individual security. The third force for good is 
***e weighty condemnation by the Pope, speaking as the head 
°f the Church, of the methods of boycotting and of those im- 
moral and illegal methods known as the Plan of Campaign, by 
**trich, and by which alone, the National League laid hold of 
the Irish people. 

"What is the moral which I draw from all this ? I am not 
afraid to proclaim that the moral for the Unionist party is, l Stick 
steadily to your programme.' I know there are some who will 
8ay — and it is a very natural frame of mind, one you very often 
come across in various other spheres of life — * Oh, let well alone ; 
do nothing; trust in your coercive powers.' I think that would 
be a shortsighted policy. Suppose a farmer ploughed a field, and, 
having expended a great deal of labour in bringing it into con- 
dition, said, 4 1 will do no more with it. I will leave it. It is 
a great expense and trouble. If I sow it, weeds will grow up 
and I will have trouble. I will allow it to remain fallow and 
let it produce nothing.' Do you think he would be a sen- 
sible agriculturist ? You are rapidly getting the fields of Ire- 
land into the condition when you can proceed to sow the seeds 
of conciliation and concession. We, Unionists, must be very 
careful to fulfil our pledges to the people of this country. No 
Government can go before the electorate with any hope of salva- 
tion unless they have fulfilled the promises they have made 
%o the people. Former Governments have fallen because they 
liave been obliged to go before the electorate with a record of 
broken promises, and you never had a more signal and con- 
spicuous instance than the fate of Mr. Gladstone's Government 
in 1885, when that Government, having broken and violated 
every pledge which it had made, was decisively repudiated by a 
large majority of the borough constituencies of this country. I 
think that the position which I take up upon the subject of future 
policy in Ireland, is an unanswerable position. If in the year 
1879, when the Tory party was in office, when the Tory party 
had no great powers for asserting the law in Ireland, when the 
country was ravaged by famine and distress, when agitation was 


rife, when the general election was impending — if at that time 
the Tory party came forward and offered to the Irish people a 
Bill for the extension of their local liberties, of by no means an 
illiberal character ; if in January 1886, when the Tory Govern- 
ment occupied a position in the House of Commons of a very weak 
minority, when Ireland was in a state of acute disorder, and the 
Executive had no special powers by which to preserve the autho- 
rity of the law — if at that time the Tory Government told Parlia- 
ment and the country that a Local Government Bill for Ireland 
was in course of preparation and was being considered by the 
Ministers of the Crown; if in August 1886 the Tory Govern- 
ment — again in a minority, not possessing a majority of the 
House of Commons, not possessing special powers for the enforce- 
ment of the law, and Ireland still being in a state of disorder — 
came before Parliament and solemnly pledged itself to extend to 
Ireland some measure of local government : I say, if that is so. 
then, when the Government occupies a very much more advan- 
tageous position for preserving the tranquillity and for develop- 
ing the prosperity of Ireland, a fortiori we can pursue confidently 
the policy of extending to Ireland similar and equal treatment 
with that we give England and Scotland. You can imagine I 
have reasons for bringing this most vital question to your notice. 
Before passing to that I wish to allude for a moment to an argu- 
ment which was brought forward with great effect in the House 
of Commons against my views, and I do not like to pass it by 
without notice. I will call it the * scandals ' argument. The 
persons who use this argument say, l Oh, you cannot give an ex- 
tension of local government to Ireland such as you are giving to 
England, because the Irish boards and the Irish public bodies 
which already exist mismanage their affairs and are guilty of 
such shocking administrative scandals.' That reminds me of 
another argument which was brought forward some time ago 
against extending the franchise in Ireland, and that is the 
argument which 1 used to call the i mud-cabin ' argument. In 
England then it was said by many, k You must not give the Irish 
people the Parliamentary franchise as you give it to England, 
they will misuse it. They are sure to misuse it. They cannot 
help misusing it.' And why ? ' Because they live in mad 


cabins.' But we had to point to the fact that, whereas Irish 
peasants lived in mud cabins, there were undoubtedly many 
classes of voters in England living in dwellings that were no 
better than mud cabins, and that if you were going to make the 
dwelling of the voter the criterion of his capacity to vote you 
would have to disfranchise not only large numbers of the Irish 
but large numbers of English people too. Well, the ' mud- 
cabin argument disappeared, and I should like to point out 
that the * scandals ' argument against the extension of local 
government in Ireland is of a very similar character. It is a 
very double-edged argument if you say, ' We cannot give any 
local government to Ireland because of the scandals connected 
with popular boards in Ireland.' In the first place, if your 
argument is worth anything, you ought to take away what little 
local government they possess already. But it is a very double- 
edged argument. Are there no scandals attaching to the ad- 
ministration of local affairs in this country ? I take you to the 
great metropolis — we may call it the greatest metropolis in the 
world — I take you to London. The other day we were told that 
one of the vestries, one of the boards of guardians in county 
Galway, had indulged in the pleasurable emotion of a free fight 
among its members. But the gentlemen who used that argu- 
ment could hardly have been aware that scarcely a month passes 
without a vestry in London either positively indulging in a free 
fight or coming to the very verge of a free fight, and that never 
does a month pass without one or more vestries in London 
giving themselves the amusement of seeing in connection with 
the administration of their affairs that which the adjectives 
* outrageous ' and ' scandalous ' would be perfectly inadequate 
to describe. I am glad to notice the scandals connected with 
these local bodies in the metropolis, and, being a metropolitan 
member, I like to draw public attention to them in the hope of 
putting an end to them. I invite your attention to another 
great public board in this country — the Metropolitan Board of 
Works. There is a Board dealing with millions of money annu- 
ally, a Board supposed to be representative, a Board supposed 
to be composed of the respectable classes, of classes who have 
a stake in the country, and who have got something to lose. 


What lias happened to that Board? The allegations against 
that Board of corruption and jobbery were so serious, and, what 
is more, were prima facie so well founded, that the Government 
passed a law to constitute a Royal Commission with almost un- 
precedented and unparalleled powers to investigate the proceed- 
ings of the Metropolitan Board. I refer you to a great body of 
historic importance and of ancient renown. I refer you to the 
Corporation of the City of London. You will recollect that last 
year that Corporation was literally hauled before a committee 
of the House of Commons and accused of the grossest malversa- 
tion of public funds, and not even the warmest friends of the 
Corporation will assert that it left the Court without a stain 
upon its character. Well, do her Majesty's Government propose, 
because of these scandals connected with local governing boards, 
to refuse popular and representative local government to London ? 
On the contrary, they have brought in a Bill which will esta- 
blish in London a municipal government of a far more popular 
and representative character. Are they deterred from doing 
that by seeing that the people of London do not condemn these 
scandals and tolerate them ? The people of London have tole- 
rated these scandals for years, and it is notorious that the 
government of the metropolis has been in the hands of persons 
who have been most inefficient and possibly corrupt. And yet 
does that deter the Government from giving popular municipal 
government to the metropolis ? The argument will not hold 
water for a moment. We have had riots in London just as we 
had in Ireland, and we had the West-end half sacked eighteen 
months or two years ago by a mob that paraded through the 
streets and destroyed and stole a great deal of valuable property. 
We have had the most serious riots between the police and 
the people in Trafalgar Square. Has that deterred the Govern- 
ment from extending popular government to the metropolis? 
No. Why ? If things of this kind, scandals, riots and disorder, 
do not deter us in London, why should they deter us in regard 
to the case of Ireland ? Depend upon it, scandals will always 
occur from time to time in popular representative assemblies. 
Scandals of the gravest kind have occurred even in our own 
House of Commons. But the progress of an enlightened public 


opinion tends to correct and remove those scandals, and it is 
because we regard popular institutions in Ireland as the. great 
cure and remedy for much of the disorder and trouble which 
has distracted that country that we bound ourselves at the last 
election to extend popular institutions in Ireland. 

All these arguments were in my mind when I made a speech 
in the House of Commons just three weeks ago, which caused a 
good deal of comment, and I fear some comment of an unfavour- 
able character. When I made that speech on Irish Local 
Government there was great indignation among certain persons, 
and there was some very bad language, I am afraid, used 
against me. I fancy I was very generally called in the lobby of 
the House of Commons a traitor to the Union and the Unionist 
party. Others who were more charitable said, ' He is such an 
unreliable person. You never know what he is going to do 
next.' There were other persons who were not quite so chari- 
table, and they said, ' You need not pay any attention to it, for 
it is caused by the mean motives of envy, hatred, malice, and 
all uncharitableness.' That was stated and hinted at in the 
press and in political circles in London. I am glad to think, 
from the kind way in which you have received me to-night and 
from an article which I saw in a newspaper which may claim to 
represent very closely the opinions of Preston people, I am glad 
to think that such opinions as those I have alluded to do not 
find any currency in this great town. But I am not the least 
alarmed at the circulation or the growth of accusations of that 
character. I am so accustomed to them. I have constantly 
been the unfortunate victim of these outbursts of sudden in- 
dignation. Many times it has happened to me in my Parlia- 
mentary experience for persons to come up to me and say, * Well, 
my dear fellow, I am really very sorry, but you have done for 
yourself this time.' I was told the other day that a noble lord 
of position wrote to a friend of mine and said, i It is a thousand 
pities, but this time Randolph has cut his throat.' Why this 
fearful outburst ? What had I done ? I had only insisted, as 
I shall always insist, on a literal performance of pledges given 
by the Unionist party to the people of this country. But, as I 
said, I am not in the least alarmed. These tempests arise very 


suddenly like tropical storms, and then pass away, and, although 
I have often done for myself and cut my throat time after time, 
I find, on the whole, I get along fairly well, and certainly what 
passes this evening in this hall does not encourage me to think 
that I am in any way politically dead. I will tell you why I am 
not alarmed, because I find that her Majesty's Government — 
and I give them credit for it — are ploughing with my oxen. I 
find that the Dartford programme is being steadily but unmis- 
takably carried out. That is why the Government and I can 
get along so admirably together, with the exception of an occa- 
sional turn up now and then. What was the feature of the 
Dartford programme— a programme which people said was my 
programme but was not my programme — it was the programme 
of the Government ? The feature was English measures first. 
Irish measures next. What were the English measures alluded 
to in that programme? The allotments question, the tithes 
question, the question of land law reform, railway rates, ami 
last, but not least, the question of local government in the 
counties ; and with those English measures there has been made 
progress. What were the Irish measures ? The questions of 
land, local government, and education. What was the main 
principle of that programme? The main principle was that 
the same measure of generous, confident trust and liberality of 
treatment should l>e meted out in legislating for the people of 
both countries. What was the main object of that programme? 
That the representatives of the English and the Irish peoples in 
the Imperial Parliament at Westminster should generously and 
equitably legislate for the people of the United Kingdom, and 
thus demonstrate the inexpediency of setting up a separate 
Parliament in each country of the United Kingdom. I have 
supported the Government all along in carrying out that pro- 
gramme, and the only time when I sound a note of warning and 
alarm— and I shall continue to sound a note of warning and 
alarm — is when 1 see a sio-n or an indication or a tendency of 
that great programme being departed from. 

The line of demarcation between the Unionist party, and 
the Repeal party which is led by Mr. Gladstone, is sharp, definite, 
unci unmistakable. Nothing has changed. It is now as it 


was at the election of 1886. Mr. Gladstone's method of dealing 
with Ireland was to build up local government from the top by 
constructing a practically independent Parliament in Ireland, 
which should be allowed to establish what local institutions it 
might please. That was Mr. Gladstone's method. What is our 
method ? The Unionist method was diametrically the reverse. 
It was to build up local government from the bottom on sound 
and sure foundations. It was to establish local institutions 
under the guidance and under the protection of the Imperial 
Parliament at Westminster, and it was to educate and to train 
the Irish people by degrees in the art of self-government, which, 
partly from their own fault and partly from our fault, they had 
so long neglected. I know there are people who say, ' The Irish 
are not fit for the institutions which we English can enjoy; they 
would make a bad use of them.' I came across the other day 
a passage from Lord Macaulay which I should like to read to 
persons who may hold that opinion. Lord Macaulay 's writings 
are the favourite arsenal for the defenders of the Union to have 
recourse to, and certainly no one has written more strongly in 
defence of the Union between Ireland and England. What did 
Lord Macaulay — perhaps the greatest Whig thinker and writer 
that this country has ever seen — say with regard to the argument 
that certain people were not fit to possess free institutions until 
they asked for them ? Let me read you the passage. It is out 
of his essay on Milton, which I dare say many of you have read. 
He says : * Many politicians of our own time are in the habit 
of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people 
ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The 
maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not 
to go into the water until he had learnt to swim. If men 
are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, 
they may indeed wait for ever/ No, gentlemen, we must not 
make mistakes in this matter. We are prosperous now ; we are 
powerful now ; but we must always have our eye on the future, 
and we must always be guarding against misfortune and danger 
in the future. The foundation of the Act of Union was not 
separate Parliaments nor diverse laws for the two countries. 
The foundation of the Act of Union was one Parliament and 


equal laws for the two countries, and to that solemn national 
compact the two peoples of Britain and Ireland are reciprocally 
and solemnly pledged. I have never held, and I have never 
been willing to admit for one moment, that the existence 
of the Crimes Act in Ireland implies any inequality of treat- 
ment. On the contrary, I always said that, if similar circum- 
stances existed in England to those which necessitated the 
passing of the Crimes Act -in Ireland, it would be the duty of 
any English Government to propose similar measures. I know 
perfectly well, and I am not surprised, that there are some in 
this country, perhaps many, to whom the operation of the Crimes 
Act in Ireland appears harsh and severe, and who think that 
the Irish people are being oppressed. In considering this 
subject we may draw a useful analogy from the science of 
medicine and of healing disease. There are many forms of 
disease for which the only cure is the surgeon's knife. The 
surgeon's knife cuts boldly, and you would think ruthlessly, 
into the patient's body, extirpating and removing all the putre- 
fied and diseased portions of the body, and the patient himself 
by his cries of agony would lead you to think that ho was being 
maltreated and butchered and even killed. But you look on 
sympathetically but unmoved, because you know the remedy is 
scientific and that a real cure is being established. So with the 
Crimes Act in Ireland. The Act cuts boldly and ruthlessly into 
the diseased Irish body; it removes from the diseased Irish 
society all that malignant and cancerous tumour of intimidation, 
and terror, and illegal combination which was sapping the Irisb 
vitality and destroying the Irish strength. • That is the effect of 
the Crimes Act in Ireland. We may pursue that analogy even 
further, and just as in the treatment of disease, after the sur- 
geon has used his knife with effect, there comes the physician 
with his gentle healing remedies, with his stimulants, and with 
his tonics to restore nature and to aid the process of revival, so 
1 feel sanguine, no matter what anybody may say in the House 
of Commons or out of it, that the Unionist party next year will 
apply to Ireland a policy of generous concession and conciliation ; 
that they will inaugurate an era of liberal legislation for the 
satisfaction of Irish grievances and of Irish wants ; that by such 


a policy they will mitigate and obliterate the apparent harshness 
and severity of the Crimes Act ; that by such a policy they will 
justify and ratify the courage and enlightened wisdom of the 
Head of the Church of Rome ; and that by such a policy, before 
no long time is over, they will demonstrate beyond all denial, 
beyond the reach of all carping and captious criticism, that the 
Irish and the British are one people, one in interest, one in 
progress, one in Imperial dominion, one in the possession of all 
those traditions and aspirations which make peoples and nations 
great and free. 

I turn to another matter of vital importance — the question 
of public expenditure — and I regret to announce to you that I 
see very little progress as yet being made with any reform of the 
public expenditure. The subject of economy and of administra- 
tive reform is still, I deeply lament to say, almost untouched. 
The majority of the members of Parliament up to the present 
appear to be somewhat callous and apathetic regarding public 
expenditure. Some members, I think, are not only forgetful of 
the speeches they made to their constituents, but are forgetful 
of the duties they owe to the taxpayer. There are a few gentle- 
men like Mr. Hanbury, whom I see on this platform, and Mr. 
Jennings, of Stockport, and others — a remnant who have not 
bowed the knee to Baal — and they labour hard and long ; but 
not only do they incur a great deal of abuse and dislike by their 
labours with regard to this most necessary reform, but they are 
also, I think, from time to time impressed like me by the 
despairing nature of the struggle. There seems to be a kind 
of determination, an invincible resolution, on the part of the 
majority of the House of Commons to permit or to support the 
reckless expenditure of money. I should like to bring a few 
facts before you to illustrate that position. There is a tendency, 
a most dangerous tendency, at the present moment, a precedent 
for which I do not recollect — a tendency to create new offices. 
I am quite certain of this, that if any of you went into the 
House of Commons and saw some thirty- eight ministers — I think 
about thirty-six or thirty-eight ministers — seated on the front 
bench in the House of Commons, and then went into the House 
of Lords and saw a dozen more ministers seated on the front 
vol. n. a A 


bench in the House of Lords, you would say, considering the 
very amateur manner in which this country is governed, you 
would say, I think, ' We have quite enough of Ministers.' There 
is the new office of Under Secretary for Ireland which it is, 
proposed to create, and which has excited my attention in a* 
different manner to that which it has excited in Parliament. C 
quite understand, and am prepared to admit, that the Irish. 
Secretary is a very hard-worked man and requires assistance 
I quite understand that ; and I have not a word to say against 
it ; but, to give him that assistance, I object to the creation of 
new Minister ; because you can give that assistance without 
creating a new office. There are representing the Treasury 5j 
the House of Commons the First Lord of the Treasury, tlie 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, two Secretaries and three Lords of 
the Treasury. The First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer are Cabinet Ministers and have some hard 
work. The Parliamentary Secretary of the Treasury is one of 
the hardest-worked men in the Government. The Patronage 
Secretary of the Treasury has merely party duties to perform; 
but the three Lords of the Treasury, who each receive 1,000/. a 
year, have absolutely no official duties of any sort or kind. They 
are engaged in the work of what is called whipping up tie 
Ministerial majority. That is an important work, no doubt; 
but I think it is a fair question whether the charge for that 
work should come upon the public funds. But do they do it 
alone ? On the contrary, to assist them in that arduous duty 
they have the assistance of four Court officials, who between 
them receive 1,000?. a year. These are the Comptroller of the 
Household, the Vice-Chamberlain, the Parliamentary Groom-in- 
Waiting, and the Treasurer of the Household ; and the four 
Court officials and three Lords of the Treasury and the Patronage 
Secretary of the Treasury are all engaged in the work of whip- 
ping up the Ministerial majority. And what do you reckon 
that work costs us ? Eight thousand a year ; and this is spent 
in whipping up a Ministerial majority. I say this, that if the 
Irish Secretary wants Ministerial assistance— and I quite con- 
ceive he might do so — his duty is to single out one of the Lords 
of the Treasury and make that gentleman work for the large salary 


which he receives. You have often heard it said that honesty 
is the best policy. I will prove to you that economy is the best 
policy. Suppose that Government had taken that course, and 
suppose they had appointed Colonel King-Harman — who is a 
very good man and not justly open to the abuse which the Irish 
very improperly and ungenerously heap upon him — suppose 
they had appointed him a Lord of the Treasury, what would 
have happened ? He would have been re-elected ; he would 
have received his office, he would have assisted the Irish 
Secretary, and there would not have been one single moment of 
the time of the House of Commons taken up in making that 
appointment. Instead of which you have had hours, days, and 
nights taken up in discussing a Bill to create a new office, and 
I do not hesitate to say before this meeting, whether it may be 
pleasing or not to some persons in London, that the discussion 
of that appointment, the opposition to the appointment, has 
been by no means an unjustifiable opposition. 

It is proposed to create a Minister of Agriculture. I know 
that agricultural representatives think that the progress of 
agriculture will be forwarded by the creation of a Minister of 
Agriculture. How they may have got that idea into their heads 
I cannot imagine. But I have no objection to the Government 
creating this office if they will do away with the office of Lord 
President of the Council and the office of Chancellor of the 
Duchy of Lancaster. Both those offices are absolutely sinecure 
posts, and I decline to sanction the creation of a Minister of 
Agriculture, receiving a salary, when the work of that office can 
be done by existing ministers if they like to do it. But it is not 
only proposed to create a Minister of Agriculture, but to add a 
new judge to the bench at a salary of 5,000/. a year, to be paid 
out of the Consolidated Fund, a fund beyond the control of Par- 
liament, and the salary removed from the control of Parliament. 
Again, it will be perfectly easy to prove to the House of Com- 
mons that the creation of that new judge is totally unnecessary, 
that if the common law judges like to work harder, as they 
ought to do, considering the great salaries they receive, the 
arrears which have accumulated in the Court of Chancery might 
be easily disposed of, and if the Government were a Government 

A A 2 


bent on economy they would not listen to the proposal to create 
a new judge. But we are threatened with the proposal. I hope 
I have knocked that new judge on the head. But I am not 
quite sure of it, and I call public attention to the scandal — the 
positive scandal — of creating a new judge for an already over- 
crowded bench. But I cannot leave this question of the 
judicial bench without bringing to your notice the state of the 
Irish judicial bench, the misdeeds of the Government with re- 
spect to that bench. When I was at the Treasury, and when 
my predecessor was at the Treasury, we were perfectly deter- 
mined, under no circumstances whatever, to tolerate any addition 
to the Irish bench. We were determined to cut down the Irish 
bench. It is notoriously overmanned for the comparatively 
few duties it has to perform as compared with its strength. But 
I am sorry to say that after I left the Treasury two vacancies 
occurred on the Irish bench. The common law judges, who 
numbered ten, were reduced to eight, a number in excess of 
what is absolutely necessary for the discharge of the judicial 
business in Ireland. I made sure that the Government would 
not consent to fill up those two appointments. Unfortunately, 
the mischievous genius of Dublin Castle was too strong. They 
secured the appointments for themselves ; and the public scan- 
dal — what amounts to nothing more or less than a public 
scandal — was witnessed of the Irish bench being kept up to the 
strength often common law judges when, by the confession of all. 
it was ludicrously in excess of the duties which the Irish bench 
had to perform. What does that mean ? It means a charge of 
at least between 7,000?. and 8,000Z. a year on the Consolidated 
Fund. It means that we have appointed two gentlemen to do 
duties which it was not at all necessary they should be appointed 
to do, and after fifteen years these two gentlemen will be able 
to retire on pensions of 3,000Z. a year. I say these are public 
scandals, and must be brought before public meetings. I say 
that with regard to these new appointments a large unnecessary 
burden is placed upon the taxpayers, and that unless the public 
take notice of these matters and bring pressure to bear upon 
Parliament the taxpayer will not receive from Parliament and 
from tht 1 Government that relief to which he is entitled. 


I come to another and more serious question, which I can 
only deal with in a few brief remarks — the expenditure on the 
Army and Navy. I ask you to consider in relation to that 
expenditure the revelations which we have had as to the con- 
dition of the two services. I brought to the public notice the 
other day as w ell as I could the opinion of the Commander-in- 
Chief that the whole condition of the Army was never more 
unsatisfactory, and that he was most dissatisfied with it. Lord 
Wolseley — who is, next to the Commander-in-Chief, one of the 
most important persons in the Army, whom I had the dis- 
appointment of seeing execute a strategic but at the same time 
a rapid and rather disorderly movement to the rear, under cover 
of that retreat, shot a Parthian arrow at the Government, and 
this was what Lord Wolseley said. Let me draw your atten- 
tion to his words : * That so long as the Navy is as weak as it is 
at this moment, her Majesty's Army cannot hold its own all over 
the world, dispersed as it is ; that our defences at home and 
abroad at the present time are in an unsatisfactory condition ; 
and that our military forces are not organised or equipped as 
they should be to guarantee even the safety of the capital in 
which we are at this present moment.' The Roman Senate, 
when a Roman general came home, having lost a Roman army, 
addressed its general and said, c Varus, what have you done with 
our legions ? ' I say to the great English general, I say to 
my Lord Wolseley, ' What have you done with our millions ? ' 
Because for the last ten years or more there has been a gross 
expenditure on the Army and Navy considerably exceeding 
30,000,000^. a year ; and I own that I am exasperated, and I 
think the public ought to be exasperated too, when, in view 
of that great expenditure, generals representing the War Office 
come before you and state to you on their responsibility that 
you, the British public, who have paid so much, are in an 
absolutely defenceless position. That is rather too strong an 
order. It shows that there is something very wrong some- 
where which must be very rapidly remedied. Lord Wolseley, 
you observe, condemns the weakness of the British Navy. You 
may recollect what Mr. Cobden said more than once publicly as 
to the necessity for a strong British Navy to the safety of the 


empire. Lord Wolseley condemns in the House of Lords the 
weakness of the British Navy, and the Prime Minister does 
not seem at all to realise the nature of the charge, because he 
says, c How can you talk of the weakness of the British Navy ? 
Why, for the last three years we have spent five millions a year 
as an extra charge for the purpose of strengthening the Navy, 
whereas in 1880 we only spent two millions.' But that has 
nothing whatever to do with the question. The question is 
that you have wasted your five millions a year as you have 
probably before wasted your two millions. I can prove, and I 
have proved — in my speech at Wolverhampton last year which 
never was contradicted — that the enormous portion of the vote 
of credit taken in 1885 to increase the Navy was wasted. The 
Admiralty built ships which they said were armoured ships. 
When the ships were launched and went to sea, it was found 
that the whole of their armour was under water and useless. 
They took millions to build what they called protected ships. 
When those ships went to sea they were absolutely unprotected; 
and yet they are gravely put down by the Admiralty in their list 
of armoured vessels, and the expenditure on them is quoted by 
Lord Salisbury to show the strength of the Navy ! But further : 
we have this shocking spectacle, that many of your ships, on 
which this great expenditure of which the Prime Minister is so 
proud has been laid out, cannot go to sea for want of guns — that 
they are waiting for guns, and will have to wait for guns for 
some time. More than that : it has been stated publicly, and 
never denied, that our fortresses at home from Portland to the 
Tweed have no heavy guns for their defence. More than that : 
we have been told that our Mediterranean fortresses have no 
heavy guns for their defence, and the First Lord of the Treasury 
announced to an astonished House of Commons last night that 
he hoped, by the new measure which he had introduced, that 
possibly in three years the Mediterranean fortresses might be 
provide;! with heavy guns. Not only that : the Army, in spite 
of this tremendous expenditure of twenty millions a year upon 
it, is admitted not to lie armed with a good rifle. It is admitted 
to be armed with an inferior and an obsolete weapon. We have 
no reserves, either of gunpowder or of military stores. We have 


no transport whatever for the Army except a kind of scrappy 
and ragged transport for the First Army Corps of 25,000 men. 
But the Second Army Corps and the whole of the reserve forces 
necessary for the defence of the country are without transport 
of any sort or kind. More than that : speaking generally, we 
have no organisation under the present system for a time of 
war. If war was to break out to-morrow there would be most 
terrible and probably fatal chaos and confusion at the Admiralty 
and War Offices — departments to which the British people have 
entrusted scores of millions by the year. Have I not the right 
when I talk upon these subjects to be exasperated, and have I 
not the right to call upon the British people to be exasperated 
too, and to exercise their great and invincible energy, to find 
out where that fault lies and to remedy that fault without delay ? 
I know perfectly well there are people in London who will 
say when they read these words to-morrow, i How can he have 
the face to make such remarks ? Why, he resigned because he 
wished to cut down the estimates.' I did not resign at all 
because I wished to cut down the estimates. I resigned as a 
great protest — the strongest protest that I could make — against 
waste and extravagance. I knew, and nobody will deny 
that subsequent disclosures have borne out, that waste and 
extravagance were going on to an incredible degree, and I 
called upon them to reduce that waste and extravagance. 
The departments said that they could not, and the depart- 
ments got the best of me ; but which has the best of it now ? 
The view I took at that time has been borne out by two of the 
highest authorities. The Secretary of State for War, in a speech 
the other day, said, ' It is not so much the money is wanted as a 
good system of organisation.' Well, that is exactly what I said 
when I went out. Lord Charles Beresford, writing the other 
day to a gentleman, said, ' If we had a good system of organisa- 
tion the present estimates would be sufficient, nay, more than 
sufficient, to maintain that organisation.' I have never changed 
from this position regarding the expenditure on the Army and 
the Navy; and I may really call in my defence the Prime 
Minister of this country, because the Prime Minister said the 
other day in the House of Lords — and I do not think he would 


say more in my praise than he could possibly help — that he did 
not believe there was a single public man in this country against 
whom the accusation could by any possibility be made that he 
would risk the safety of the empire on the chance of a popular 
Budget. I believe I am the only public man against whom that 
charge has been recently brought, and so I take Lord Salisbury's 
observation and carefully apply it to myself. 

I have never changed from this position. What I stated to 
the departments, and what I have stated over and over again to 
Parliament and the people, is this — Prove to me that money is 
wanted for the safety of the empire. More than that : prove to 
me that that money will be well spent ; prove to me that the 
nation will get a full and adequate return for that expenditure; 
prove to me that you have got a rational system of organisation 
which should secure that for every sovereign yon take out of the 
taxpayers' pockets a sovereign's benefit shall result ; prove that 
to me, and there is no demand which I would not cheerfully sug- 
gest or become responsible for in Parliament or on the platform. 
Any demand for the safety of the empire or the efficiency of 
the forces I would gladly support. But these securities for the 
proper expenditure of the money granted, so far as I am con- 
cerned. 1 will have ; and I will not vote money if I can help 
it, to be expended under the present system — a system which 
has been convicted before Parliament and before the people of 
being utterly rotten and bad ; a system under which, for every 
sovereign of money spent, the people do not get even half-a- 
crown's worth of benefit. This matter is coming to a crisis. I 
am happy to say it has for a year or more been coming to a 
crisis ; but it has come to such a crisis in Parliament that the 
(lovernment are pledged to consider the matter practically and 
immediately with a view to radical reform. I trust that that 
pledge will be redeemed. I watch and I wait with great 
patience, but not, I fear, with very great hope. I cannot exag- 
gerate — no one can exaggerate ; it is not in the power of any- 
body to overstate to you, representing as you do so directly the 
wealth and commerce of England — the importance of this 
matter. Look at the present state of Europe. Everybody admits 
that it is volcanic. I know that there are some in this country — 


&nd for aught I know there may be many — who are in favour of 
^^hat they call a spirited foreign policy. I am not much in 
favour of a spirited foreign policy, because I have always thought 
it meant we should receive a great many more kicks than half- 
pence. I can understand, however, that there is something to 
^fce said for a spirited foreign policy when you have behind it the 
means and the material force to give effect to it if necessary ; 
l>ut to pursue a spirited foreign policy in our present military and 
naval condition does not appear to me to be wise or safe. I have no 
doubt that David pursued a spirited foreign policy when he went 
out against Goliath with a sling and a stone, but I think that the 
narrative shows that there was a supernatural force exerted on 
his side on that occasion which we, as prudent, practical people, 
should hardly be justified in counting on in our own case; and I 
do not hesitate to say before this meeting that a spirited foreign 
policy, in our present military and naval condition, would be a 
policy for which I should be sorry to become in any way respon- 
sible. I feel that I have trespassed upon you long. I apologise 
to you for the length of my remarks, and I thank you for your 
great patience. All I would venture to express to you, in con- 
clusion, is, that you should allow these remarks of mine not only 
this evening, but from time to time in the course of the next 
few weeks, to occupy your mind and attract your consideration : 
I trust that they will influence you towards the more effectual 
formation of a sound, healthy, and strong public opinion which 
shall guide the Unionist party in a safe course of government, 
and aid them to carry out and perform their great task and high 
duty of promoting and consolidating the unity of the United 
Kingdom and of maintaining and extending the strength of the 
British Empire. 


CLOSE OF 1888. 

Paddinoton, November 17, 1888. 

[It will be seen that in this speech, which is necessarily 
Lord Randolph Churchill strongly supported the Government in 
the general lines of its policy, as he had supported it in many other 
speeches delivered after his resignation. He was immediately in- 
formed by a Ministerial journal that it was useless for him to make 
these * civil speeches ' — he * was no longer wanted in the Ministerial 
galley.' At the same time it was continually represented that he 
was making war on the Ministry. Much confusion of fact was fre- 
quently to be observed, in officially c inspired ' journals, throughout 
this controversy.] 

IT is a fact, a very remarkable one, and possibly almost a unique 
one in modern history, that the foreign policy which has 
been pursued by the Government of Lord Salisbury has com- 
manded not only the general but the unstinted approval of the 
entire nation ; and when we consider the state of Europe — how 
anxious is that state — I think we must feel that the course of 
foreign policy which at such a time commands the unanimous 
approval of the nation is a course of foreign policy which is 
distinctly creditable to the Government which carries it out; 
therefore it is unnecessary for me to examine foreign affairs 
with any minuteness to-night. If foreign affairs be well con- 
ducted the best thing is to let them alone; but there is one 
point in connection with foreign affairs about which I would, 
with your permission, address to you some observations to 
which 1 attach serious importance. 1 allude, gentlemen, to 
our relations with the United States of America. With regard 
to our relations with the United States of America, there are 


tAree questions pending — questions which are perhaps awkward 
questions now, and which may become more awkward still. I 
allude to the question connected with the fisheries; I allude 
tx> the question connected with certain boundaries of territory ; 
^nd I allude to the question of negotiating a treaty for extra- 
dition of criminals. I think you will agree with me if I 
attach enormous importance, in the negotiation of these ques- 
tions, to the maintenance of an attitude towards America of 
the most imperturbable and most friendly good-humour. No 
doubt the Americans are very good hands at driving a hard 
bargain. They perhaps a little resemble the Dutch of the last 
century, who were said to be distinguished for giving too little 
and for asking too much. No doubt they like, if they can, to 
get six to four the best of their opponents ; but I do not know 
why we should blame them on that account. We should try 
to the best of our ability to uphold our own rights, and we 
can with advantage remember — that the Americans are essen- 
tially a just people, and that although the Americans are a 
proud people, and that though they have a right to be a proud 
people, they are by no means a quarrelsome or an excitable 
people, and therefore they are a people with whom it is not 
difficult to remain on excellent terms. But it cannot be denied 
that certain incidents have recently taken place which have to 
some extent strained the relations between the two countries. 
I allude to the action of President Cleveland after the rejec- 
tion by the Senate of the treaty which Mr. Chamberlain had 
negotiated. I also allude to the action of President Cleveland 
in dismissing our Minister from Washington the other day. 1 
There is no doubt that these incidents have somewhat strained 
the relations between the two countries ; but I think we ought 
to make the utmost allowance for the position in which the 
Americans were placed. I think if you search the modern 
history of England you will find that even our own Governments 

1 Lord Sack vi lie had written a most imprudent letter in the very height 
of the excitement attending the Presidential election ; the letter had given 
great offence, and injured the prospects of the Democratic party ; and in con- 
sequence of all this, Lord Sackville was practically dismissed by the Govern- 
ment of the United States. Unusual delay occurred in sending out his 
successor, and to this delay Lord Randolph was referring in the abovejnssage. 


at times have pursued a policy with respect to foreign affair* 
when general elections were pending which they would not have 
pursued if general elections had not been pending. With respect 
to the dismissal of the British Minister at Washington, we must, 
as fair and impartial persons, recognise that in the matter w.* 
were primarily wrong. There is no doubt that our Minister at 
Washington had committed a most unfortunate indiscretion ami 
a most unfortunate blunder ; and I do not hesitate to say ir 
seems to me that the blunder was without excuse, when w- 
recollect that Lord Sackville was a gentleman who had had Ion«r 
experience of the nature of political strife in America. Xo doubt 
we may have wished that President Cleveland had acted in these 
circumstances in a manner less prompt and less brusque. Bur 
still, looking at it fairly and with the desire to put the best 
construction we can upon American action, I think, with 
regard to the treatment of our Minister, we are hardlv entitled, 
nor would it be prudent on our part, to exhibit any great angi-r 
or vexation. I dwell particularly on this point because I think 
that the future contains matter for anxiety. I have olwerved 
with grief a series of articles which have recently appeared in 
one of the London morning papers which breathe the spirit 
of insult and menace to the United States, and which appear to 
me to be inspired by nothing else but mere bluster and bragga- 
docio. Gentlemen, the prospect of war between England and 
the United States of America — the prospect of any serious 
quarrel between England and the United States of America- 
is, to my mind, the most appalling prospect which I can picture. 
I utterly refuse to consider it possible for a moment. A war 
between England and the United States of America would be 
more atrocious in its character, more utterly disastrous and 
destructive to the interests of civilisation, than any war which 
has ever been waged since war began upon this earth. And I 
feel sure if the readers of the articles to which I allude had any 
conception whatever, any decent realisation of the unspeakable 
mischief which sentiments such as they produce might cause in 
America, they would rather smash up their pens and tear up 
their paper than write one line or one word of the articles to 
which I have referred. But, gentlemen, there is another policy 


which I see a tendency to advocate in certain quarters, which 
appears to me to fall not far short of the mischief of the former 
policy, and that is the policy which, without intending offence, 
I will designate as the policy of sneers and sulks. Nothing, I 
think, would be more foolish or childish on our part than to 
pursue such a policy. Nothing would be more unworthy of the 
might and the power of the British Empire than to indulge in 
a policy of sneers and sulks when dealing with equals. What I 
would impress upon this meeting and upon the public is, the im- 
portance of demonstrating to our American brothers as early and 
as practically as we can, with regard to recent incidents which 
have occurred, that no bad feelings of any sort exist in our minds 
with regard to them. It is for that purpose I express a hope that 
the post of British Minister at Washington may not be left 
vacant for long. I do not think that any longer delay ought 
to elapse in filling up the post than may be necessary for the 
selection of a gentleman of ability and experience who will be 
acceptable to the American people. 

I have a special as well as a general reason for urging this, 
and it is, that the fisheries question, as any one who is acquainted 
with it will agree, from its very nature, may at any moment 
become most acute, and the most serious issues — issues most 
vital to the future fortunes of the two nations — may absolutely 
depend upon the presence at, or the absence from, Washington 
of an experienced British diplomatist. We must not pay much 
attention to the loud and quarrelsome and disagreeable tone 
which is assumed towards us by a portion of the American 
press which is inspired by, or written to please, the Irish vote. 
I have spoken on this question because I attach great importance 
to it, and also because I hope I may be allowed to say I know 
something of America. I have twice visited that country ; I 
have travelled somewhat in that country ; and I have had the 
pleasure of meeting Americans of various positions — gentlemen 
well qualified to represent the opinion of America — and to speak 
with authority as regards that opinion. I have often been 
assured, I may say generally been assured, by Americans of the 
prevalence throughout the whole length and breadth of America 
of feelings most cordial towards this country — feelings of admira- 


tiou, almost of affection, towards the mother-country. It lias 
often been stated to me by Americans of the character such 
as I have described that if ever this country was involved in a 
struggle for its existence, there would arise in America from 
north to south and from east to west a strong, a predominant, 
possibly an overwhelming feeling that the whole force and might 
of the United States should be cast upon the Bide of the mother- 
country. Whether that statement be true or not, whether it be 
fanciful or exaggerated, or whether it be a real sentiment, I 
cannot with any real certainty pronounce ; but it is right and 
pleasing to acknowledge that is a sentiment which may well be 
true, and it is right and prudent we should so act as if that 
sentiment were true. I most earnestly hope and advocate that 
with regard to the few outstanding disputes! and in all our 
relations with the new Government at Washington! our policy 
may be so directed by our Ministers that in the questions, by 
no means remote, the solution of which may trouble, perplex, 
and possibly destroy some European nations, we may find in the 
people of the United States of America our best and our surest 
allies ; and that a strong and indestructible friendship between 
the English-speaking communities on the east and the west of 
the Atlantic may preserve and guarantee to humanity the twin 
blessings of liberty and of peace. 

I content myself with a general allusion to the question of 
Ireland. What was the condition of affairs when the Unionist 
party succeeded to power ? Ireland was in a state of utter 
anarchy — anarchy which was not only distinctly discreditable to 
the reputation of this country, but dangerous to the interests 
of the empire. It was the direct interest of the Repeal party 
to perpetuate and to increase that state of anarchy. It was 
equally vital to the Unionist Government to put an end, and 
a speedy end, to it. It is a very old proverb that those who 
play at bowls must expect rubbers ; and those who directly par- 
ticipate in what I decline to call political agitation, but what 
is nothing more nor less than civic tumult, must not be surprised 
if in gratifying their wish, if in indulging themselves in that 
luxury, they suffer in their person and in their liberty — perhaps, 
a little more now and then than they themselves may think 


absolutely right. To those Repealers and Nationalists who com- 
plain so bitterly, and, as far as I can see, so inaccurately, as to the 
administration of the criminal law in Ireland, who raise these 
frantic outcries about the brutality of the Irish Government and 
the arbitrary interference with every kind of personal freedom, 
which they assert to be the characteristic of the Irish Govern- 
ment, I have only this to say : that if here and there — and I by 
no means admit it is the case — but if here and there there has 
been some rough-and-ready administration of justice, if here 
and there some individual directly concerned in illegal agitation 
has got a little more than his deserts, the responsibility for such 
injustice, if injustice there be, lies upon those, and upon those 
alone, who create disturbance, who maintain disturbance, and 
who seek to attain political ends and political power by the 
overthrow of all the foundations of society and by the total de- 
struction of all order, liberty, and law. At the same time, we 
must be on our guard against certain proclivities and certain 
dangers which attach to coercion, and we must be careful not to 
look for the regeneration of Ireland solely to the administration 
of the criminal law. It is for that reason I am glad that the 
Government has decided to appeal to Parliament, even at this 
late period of the session, for further provision for the facilita- 
tion of the purchase of land in Ireland by the occupier. 1 That 
and other measures ought to demand our attention both on 
grounds of policy and grounds of good faith towards the electo- 
rate. We ought to consider it our duty to endeavour as far as 
possible to construct in Ireland institutions' which are sound and 
healthy, as well as to extirpate institutions and customs which 
are noxious and diseased. And strong, irresistibly strong, will 
be the position of the Unionist party at the next general elec- 
tion if they can demonstrate, not only by argument but by fact, 
that they found Ireland a wilderness, and that they have trans- 
formed it into an orderly, a fertile — ay, possibly, even a smiling 
field. But for this purpose no one recognises more clearly than 
I do that time is necessary, and a good allowance of time; 
and it is for that reason I protest most strongly against the 

1 An extension of Lord Ashbourne's Act, proposed and carried in the 
autumn session. 


denunciations which Mr. Gladstone has recently indulged in 
of what is known as the Septennial Act, which assures to the 
present Parliament ample time for the fruition of its policy in 
Ireland. It is quite impossible that Mr. Gladstone can object 
to the Septennial Act on constitutional grounds. I look upon 
that as almost impossible, because Mr. Gladstone has proposed 
two Reform Bills in the House of Commons and had the mould- 
ing of another lleform Bill ; and neither in 1866 nor in 1867 
nor in 1884 did Mr. Gladstone propose to repeal or modify the 
Septennial Act. Not an expression came from his lips which 
would lead us to suppose that he had the smallest objection to the 
operation of that Act. But the case is very different now. He 
said, 1 think, in so many words, at Birmingham, that what is 
known as the Septennial Act operated evilly for his party. Well, 
of course, I suppose he ought to be the best judge of what is good 
or bad for his party ; but, as a perfectly disinterested looker-on, 
I take leave to express my entire disagreement with him on 
that point. I think you will agree that the longer the time, 
the more ample the period which is given to the party which 
follows Mr. Gladstone to reflect upon the folly and the danger 
of the policy of Repeal, the better it will ultimately be for them. 
No doubt it sounds very brave and very courageous on the 
part of Mr. Gladstone to profess his anxiety to appeal to the 
judgment of the people, and to taunt the Government with their 
reluctance so to appeal, and to taunt the Government with 
their fears of a dissolution. That is all very brave and very 
courageous. It reminds me of a man who said he was the 
bravest man in the world, and if anybody doubted his assertion 
he would say to that person — c Do you doubt me ? Well, now, 
look ! come with me to the top of that monument, and let us 
jump together from the top to the bottom ! ' That was valour 
of a very splendid and startling character, but it does not seem 
to me to have been valour of a very practical character, and it 
resembles very much the kind of valour Mr. Gladstone displays 
when lie challenges the Government to dissolve this Parliament. 
I most earnestly hope that the present Parliament has before 
it at least three whole years. I earnestly hope that these 
three years will be years of active life and of useful, honest 


labour ; and I trust that nothing will induce the present Govern- 
ment, or the loyal majority which supports them, to lay down 
their burden of work and duty until they feel in their consciences 
that the task and the trust which the people devolved upon them 
and reposed in them has been amply, honourably, and adequately 
fulfilled. I feel I am making rather a large demand upon your 
patience ; but may I, before I conclude, indicate very cursorily 
what I think, with all respect and deference to those whose 
political knowledge and political experience is greater than my 
own, is the direction which the future labours of this Parlia- 
ment should take? I put first and foremost — and I fear you 
really will think me rather like Mr. Dick in Dickens's novel, 
who never could keep the head of Charles I. out of his memorial 
— administrative reform. I think you must see, if you have 
studied recent Parliamentary discussions, that t he need for a/U 
m inistrative reforms is obvious and is urgent. We had only 
the other night a discussion in the House of Commons, raised 
by my friend the member for Stockport (Mr. Jennings), which 
brought out very clearly and in a very striking manner the 
extravagance, the useless bulk and clumsiness and overgrowth, 
of our Civil Service. I made some remarks on the subject, and 
' The Times ' next day rebuked me for using strong language. 
I think a rebuke for using strong language comes rather 
curiously from ' The Times/ because, if I may make what 
amounts to an Irish bull, c The Times ' has a weakness for strong 
language. And the proof of that weakness is that it has led to 
the appointment of a Commission of Judges which is now sitting, 
and which may be sitting for a very long time, to ascertain 
whether the strong language of c The Times ' was justified or 
not ; but c The Times/ I expect, resembles myself in this parti- 
cular, although probably its pride will be insulted by the assi- 
milation, that when it feels strongly it speaks strongly. There 
is no subject on which I feel more strongly than this subject of 
administrative reform, and I shall continue to speak strongly on 
it as long as I have the honour to represent you in Parliament. 
I was also rebuked by the Attorney-General in a very solemn 
manner because I said I was anxious to excite the imagination 
of the people. I am anxious to excite the imagination of the 
VOL. II. b b 


people, and I will tell you why. Because these abuses are so 
deep-rooted, and the persons who are interested in the main- 
tenance of these abuses are so numerous and so strong, that 
unless you excite public imagination you cannot get, and you can- 
not hope to get, motive power which will enable you to sweep 
away these abuses and to introduce reform. There is no economy 
possible in your Civil Service expenditure without a large reform 
taking the direction of simplification of the Civil Service of this 
country. Closely allied with that is the condition of the Army 
and Navy. That is a subject which excites great interest, and a 
great deal has been written, and very powerfully written, to show 
that the condition of the Army and Navy is by no means such as 
the taxpayers of this country have a right to expect. We are 
told there will be large demands made by the Government next 
year upon the liberality and upon the patriotism of the House 
of Commons in respect of the Army and the Navy. All I have 
to say upon that point is that 1 adhere entirely to the position I 
have always taken upon this subject. I believe — and from 
what I. have learnt in the last year I may say I know — that out- 
lay, and possibly considerable outlay, is imperatively necessary 
for the safety of the country. That I admit ; and I believe that 
the demands which the Government may make to insure the 
safety of the country will be cheerfully responded to by the 
House of Commons, provided that those demands are accompanied 
by a scheme of thorough, searching, and organic reform in the 
system which administers these sums. What the House of 
Commons will insist upon, and what it has an absolute right to 
insist upon, and what it ought to insist upon, is that there shall 
be given by the (Jovernment the most solid and the most sub- 
stantial guarantees that the millions which they vote for the 
defences of t he country shall not follow the fate of former millions 
and be wasted and thrown away. That is the position which I 
take up, and of which 1 hope you will approve, with respect to 
the outlay of large additional sums of money upon the Army 
and Navy. 

There are other questions which also seem to me to cry aloud 
for legislative attention. Some ye-ars, I think nearly twenty 
years, have elapsed since Lord Beaconsfield surprised and arrested 


the attention not only of his party but of the entire country 
by declaring that the legislative motto of the Tory party ought 
to be Sanitas sanitatam, omnia sanitas. That saying of Lord 
Beaconsfield, like many of his sayings, bears the closest examin- 
ation, and will apply for a long time. There are, it seems to me, 
/three great social questions which urgently demand legislative 
attention ; they demand legislative attention urgently on sani- 
tary considerations, and they can, I believe, only safely be dealt 
with for sanitary objects and on sanitary princfples. I allude, 
in the first place, to the great drink question} How can we 
manage by legislation to divert to the maintenance of other 
industries, and to the stimulus of other industries, a large portion 
of the 120,000,000/. which this country year after year throws 
away in drink. That is a great question. It cannot be 
denied that the indiscriminate multiplication of establishments 
for the sale of liquor — in which, I regret to say, the deceased 
Metropolitan Board was a grievous sinner — and the abominably 
excessive number in all our large towns of establishments for 
the sale of liquor, are rapidly ruining both the health and the 
morals of a large portion of our urban population, and that 
abominably excessive number is the direct parent of more than 
one-half the crime of this country, and of two-thirds of the 
poverty, the misery, the disease, and the vice which tarnishes 
and disgraces our English civilisation. What is the state of 
things which we have ? We have the public-houses, or the 
establishments for the sale of liquor, not only filling our prisons 
but filling to overflowing all our hospitals. We have these 
establishments for the sale of liquor doing a roaring trade, reap- 
ing golden harvests ; and we have our hospitals, many of them 
seriously hampered, some of them absolutely insolvent, for want 
of pecuniary support. I appeal to anybody, irrespective of 
party, if that is not a true statement of the case, and a state- 
ment of the case which ought to arouse the earnest attention of 
the Legislature ? There was a most eloquent bishop — a bishop 
who, I am happy to say, lives now, and for whom I have the 
most sincere admiration — who said that he would rather see 
England free than England sober. That was a fine general 
expression, calculated to arouse applause in certain audiences ; 

B B 2 


but I can take anybody who believes in that sentiment — and I 
think I could take the revered prelate himself — into parts of 
London after dark, and he would agree with me, rather than 
talk about freedom, that a strong despotic administration with 
regard to the number of liquor-shops would be attended with 
the most unmixed and unadulterated good. I point to this 
subject in order to show that Lord BeaconsfiekTs maxim, c Health 
and the laws of health ' should be the great object of the Govern- 
ment and of the people. Lord BeaconsfiekTs maxim calls atten- 
tion to this question, and, I think, decides the proper method of 
dealing with it. 

I come to another most urgent question. It is the over- 
crowded state of large portions of our great towns. It is a 
source of pride to me to think that the Conservative party were 
the first to initiate legislation on this subject. Both under the 
(Government of Lord Beaconsfield and again in 1885, under the 
Government of Lord Salisbury, measures were passed which 
aimed at dealing with the evil in this direction ; but it cannot 
be denied these measures had not been adequate for this purpose. 
Recent very appalling atrocities have sharply drawn the atten- 
tion of the metropolis to the East of London; and we must 
remember that terrible condition is by no means peculiar to the 
metropolis. We shall find it repeated in all its wretched phases 
in many of our large towns in this country; and it cannot 
possibly be denied that we have a prolific parent of vice, misery, 
and crime in the condition of the dwellings of a great portion of 
our labouring population. Closely allied with that subject is 
a question which excites much attention in London — the immi- 
gration of foreign paupers: how to check the undue flow into 
this country of people who have no means to subsist upon, no 
means by which they can maintain themselves, and who clearly 
add by their influx to the evils arising from the overcrowded 
state of our towns. Again 1 say that the laws of health impera- 
tively call upon the Legislature to deal with the question, and 
it is only by asserting the laws of health and by aiming at 
objects of health that we can safely deal with the question. I 
call attention to one other object, in conclusion — a subject of 
immense importance the question of cheap labour, better known 


/ as the sweating system. We have had a great deal of disclosure 
with regard to the sweating system ; for not only has the 
Committee of the House of Lords, set in motion by Lord Dun- 
raven, brought to light much curious information on the subject, 
but there has been a series of able articles in the 'Lancet* 
setting forth the state of things in other towns. The State can- 
not regulate the price of labour, but the State can insist that 
labour in the mass shall not be carried on under conditions 
which violate all the principles of cleanliness, all the principles 
/ of health, all the principles of decency, and all the principles of 
| morality. 

These are the subjects which, I most strongly advocate, 
should occupy the future time of this Parliament. In that 
direction, I believe, lies the road to political success. No doubt 
the path which I have indicated is a laborious and stony and 
precipitous ascent ; but depend upon it, at the summit lies the 
reward and the prize ; and if the people of England have it im- 
pressed upon their minds by daily and by yearly experience — per- 
sonal experience — that the policy of the Unionist party has been 
of that nature — that these great Irish evils, these great adminis- 
trative evils, and these great social evils which I have ventured 
to put before you have been sensibly diminished, and, indeed, pos- 
sibly to some extent swept away — then, when we recur to their 
judgment, we shall find that we have established an invincible 
claim upon their gratitude and confidence, renewed and sus- 
tained ; and although the forces of our opponents may be im- 
posing ; although their leader and their general may be the most 
formidable foe whom political struggles have yet produced ; 
although Ireland, Scotland, and Wales may, in a fortuitous and 
unhappy combination, be for a time arrayed against us, the 
common sense of England will again, as it did two years ago, 
carry us triumphantly through the fight ; the voice and the will 
of England will maintain the Union which the arm of England 
alone created ; and posterity will commemorate, with affectionate 
pride, the patriotism and the statesmanship of the Unionists of 



House op Commons, December 2, 4, and 17, 1888. 

[It became known in November 1888 that Suakim was besieged 
by the Arabs, and that the Egyptian soldiers there were not sufficient 
to defend the place. The Government decided to send a force of 
Egyptian troops and one battalion of British troops to its relief. 
This being deemed insufficient by the military authorities, Lord 
Randolph Churchill asked the Secretary of State for War, Mr. 
Stanhope, on December 4, whether those authorities were consulted 
before the step was taken, and whether 'they approved the policy 
of sending so slender a reinforcement of British troops.' Mr. Stan- 
hope admitted, in effect, that the military authorities at headquarters 
had not been consulted, but stated that the commanding officer in 
Egypt was ' confident of success with his present force.' It being 
very uncertain what was the strength of the Arabs at that time, 
and many disquieting reports being afloat as to the alleged capture 
of Emm JSey and Mr. Stanley, Lord Randolph Churchill, on December 
4, moved the adjournment of the House to gain an opportunity of 
discussing the whole question. On the 17th the question was again 
debated. It may l>e added that further reinforcements were de- 
spatched, in accordance with the spirit of Lord Randolph's resolu- 
tion, and the Egyptian papers subsequently published proved that 
the commanders on the spot held such additional strength to be 
necessary, in spite of their first opinions. These papers are quoted in 
the general Introduction to the present volumes. The first speech 
was delivered on December 2, on the vote for embassies and foreign 
missions, a general debate having been raised by Mr. John Morley. 
I have here brought together the material points of all three speeches.] 

]X the last Parliament but one I was associated with my 
ri<rht hon. friends in assaulting vigorously month by month 
and sometimes week by week, the blundering policy which was 
then pursued by the Governmentof which the right hon. gentleman 
who has just spoken (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) was a member. 


We held at that time that nothing could be more fatal than to 
proceed to Egypt without making up our minds as to what 
should be the definite policy of the country. The whole sum 
and substance of the accusations brought against the Govern- 
ment, accusations which were largely supported in the House 
and the country, was that the Government had no policy what- 
ever, and that they had not made up their minds what they 
would do with the Soudan, and that till they did make up their 
minds it was improper to grant them supplies. I have heard 
with great sympathy the motion made by the right hon. gentle- 
man opposite (Mr. Morley) in the form of a protest against the 
sending of English troops to Suakim. It is most instructive to 
read the speeches which were made one Saturday afternoon in 
1884 or 1885, when the present Government were in opposition, 
by Sir S. Northcote, the present President of the Board of Trade, 
and others, taking up practically the argument which has been 
used on both sides this afternoon. On that occasion a motion 
of refusal to grant supplies was made by the hon. member for 
Northampton, much on the ground on which the right hon. 
member for Newcastle has now made a similar motion, and the 
hon. member had the pleasure and pride of leading into the lobby 
the whole of the Tory party and coming within fifteen votes, if I 
recollect aright, of defeating the Government of the day. It has 
been stated that the cost of the expedition will naturally fall upon 
Egypt. Why ? I am entirely at a loss to know. Egypt, as it 
exists at present, has no interest at Suakim, That is an asser- 
tion which at any rate would have commanded the support in 
bygone days of right hon. gentlemen now sitting on the 
Treasury bench. If it be said that the United Kingdom has 
a great interest in Suakim, I can understand the proposition. 
It is one capable of a good deal of argument. Great Britain 
has a great interest in holding Suakim ; but why, then, should 
the cost fall upon Egypt ? Egypt is a country whose finances 
are embarrassed, and it has been extricated from insolvency with 
great difficulty. If this additional pressure is put upon the 
country, sooner or later the time will come when Egypt will 
not be able to bear the burden and when she will come down 
on the British Treasury to make good deficiencies which she was, 


unable to provide. In my opinion, the policy of increasing the 
military charges which Egypt proper has to bear is a very danger- 
ous policy. It may bring about a state of things in Egypt 
amounting almost to insolvency, and it may bring about what 
we have been most anxious to avoid — international interference 
on behalf of the creditors of Egypt, the result of which has 
always been further exactions from the Egyptian people. I 
protest against that doctrine, which appears to be the doctrine of 
the Government, that the cost of holding Suakim is to fall on the 
Egyptian revenue. At any rate, if that is the proposition of the 
Government, it must be supported, as it has not been hitherto, 
by convincing arguments that Egypt has a direct interest in hold- 
ing Suakim against the Soudanese Arabs, and that unless held 
against the Soudanese Arabs the whole safety of the country would 
be imperilled. The Government propose to send a small de- 
tachment of some 500 men, without artillery and without cavalry, 
to reinforce 3,000 or 4,000 native troops, which seems like adding 
[i drop to the ocean ; and is very inadequate for the purpose — 
namely, stiffening the fighting qualities of the native troops. It 
seems to be forgotten that this is not the first time Suakim has 
been besieged. The besiegers have formerly no doubt been 
dislodged after great effort ; but the moment they desired, that 
moment they returned. This has happened not once, but three 
times ; and now the besiegers are back again, just as if they had 
never been beaten. Yet it appears we are going again to with- 
draw the moment the Arabs have been dislodged, in spite of the 
fact that, according to all experience, the besiegers are perfectly 
ready to return the moment our troops go away. I earnestly 
appeal to the Government, with their previous knowledge of this 
question, to tell the Committee plainly what is really to be the 
nature of the operations upon which British troops are going to 
enter; and what ground they have for thinking that Suakim 
will be a bit more free from attack after the troops depart than 
at the present moment. I should not have thought it neces- 
sary to speak upon the subject this afternoon if I had not so 
clearly before my mind the whole of the incidents of former 
expeditions. 1 wonder whether the Government have them 
equally clearly in their minds. The determination to send a 


British force to Suakim — a small British force — seems to me as 
but the beginning of the letting out of water. In these matters 
I think that principiis obsta is a very good principle for the House 
to adopt. We have been pursuing, and hoping that we might 
continue to pursue, a policy of the gradual withdrawal of the 
British troops from Egypt. I do not know whether the policy 
of gradual withdrawal is one which commends itself to every one 
on the Ministerial side of the House. With that I have nothing 
to do. But I say that the Government are committed to the 
policy of the withdrawal of their troops from Egypt. Yet for 
my part I would fifty times sooner send British troops to Cairo 
than to Suakim. We know the duties they would have to per- 
form at Cairo, and that there is a probability that the troops 
might get away again at a certain time. But once we begin 
operations in the Soudan, there is no limit which we can pos- 
sibly foresee to our duties. I do not know how those sitting 
on this side of the House will explain to their constituents why 
they have been drawn into a repetition of the policy which did a 
great deal of harm to the party opposite. I am very much afraid 
of any repetition, or of any commencement of a repetition, of 
operations by British troops in the Soudan. We are accustomed 
to hear the homely proverb that a burnt child dreads the fire. 
But the present Government is not the burnt child. The burnt 
child is there (pointing to the Opposition benches), and I am 
certain that nothing, not even the near prospect or probability 
of repealing the Union, would induce hon. gentlemen opposite to 
commence sending another expedition to the Soudan. I cannot 
see what real success is to attend our efforts. I am certain that 
the cost will ultimately fall on the British Treasury. I think 
that the House, even if they do not succeed in inducing the 
Government to reconsider their decision, are right in discussing 
this grave question. I do not think that this ought to be 
regarded as a party matter ; and, quite apart from party feelings, 
with the information at my disposal, I am glad that a protest 
has been raised on this occasion, and I strongly join in that pro- 
test against the despatch of another expedition of this character 
after the bitter and mortifying experience we have had of pre- 
vious enterprises of the same kind. 


. [The next speech was delivered December 4, on the motion 
to adjourn the House, this motion being raised on the reply given 
by Mr. Stanhope to a question that day on the paper.] 

The House may well imagine that nothing but the very gravest 
imaginable reasons would have induced me to take so serious 
a step as moving the adjournment of the House and interrupt- 
ing business. But I have come to the conclusion that there 
are reasons which must be weighed against the loss of a night, 
and those reasons raise the issue of human life — they raise the 
issue of the lives of British soldiers ; and if by the action of 
the House to-night the danger to the lives of British soldiers 
be averted, I think that the loss of a night for the despatch 
of business may turn out for the advantage and interest of 
the country. It is to be regretted, indeed, that the House 
of Commons in matters of this kind is usually prevented from 
taking what I may call anticipatory action. As a general rule 
the Executive Government present the House of Commons with 
n f< lit accompli, and the House has no other function to perform 
than to act as a court of review in pronouncing whether the 
action taken by the Executive is right or wrong. Its powers 
are seriously hampered by the fact that such action has been 
taken and cannot be undone. The House on this occasion is 
placed on a different footing. Formerly, it has often happened 
that action has been taken by the Executive Government, which 
action would not have been taken had the full circumstances 
been laid before the House of Commons, and had the House of 
Commons had full opportunity of considering the circumstances. 
1 adduce in support of that statement the remarkable instance 
of the bombardment of Alexandria. In all probability, if the 
facts connected with the bombardment of Alexandria had been 
laid before the House of Commons, that bombardment would 
never have taken place, and the innumerable evils which have 
followed would have been prevented. Now, what is the end 
of the action which the Government propose to take, and which 
1 ask the House of Commons to use its great power to modify ? 
The nature of the action is this — that it has been found 
necessary to raise the siege of Suakim, that a British battalion 
has been sent to Suakim, and that the force intended for that 


purpose ia now composed of 4,000 Egyptian troops and one 
battalion of British infantry. I will not discuss to-night, and 
I hope the House of Commons will not discuss, the general 
question of the Soudan, or any other general question, or the 
advantages or disadvantages of our retaining our hold on the 
Soudan ; or whether the advantages or disadvantages are mainly 
Egyptian or British; or whether our operations on the Ked 
Sea are for good or not for good ; nor will I discuss alternative 
policies. I submit, without fear of contradiction, confident of the 
approval of the highest Parliamentary authority, that it is not 
the business of the House of Commons, when it differs from the 
Government of the day, to suggest alternative action. I protest 
against such an assertion as utterly destructive of the independ- 
ence of the House of Commons. Circumstances arise with which 
the Government of the day propose to deal by certain specific 
methods, and all the House of Commons has to do is to pro- 
nounce whether those plans are good or bad plans, defensible or 
the reverse. The plan adopted by the Government of sending 
an expedition to Suakim composed of 4,000 Egyptian troops and 
one battalion of British infantry, is a plan which is not safe, is 
not sensible, and which in no sense of the word can, in the light 
of the experience of the past, be considered by the House of 
Commons as a good plan. The ground upon which I venture 
to press this motion upon the House is that the British contin- 
gent is wholly inadequate to the work which it is expected to 
perform. Sir, we have no business in employing British soldiers 
in any part of the world, but more especially in such parts as the 
Soudan, to run any unnecessary risks. Unnecessary risks are 
at all times to be deprecated ; and that we are running an un- 
necessary risk there can be no doubt whatever in sending this 
small battalion of British infantry overwhelmed among a mass of 
4,000 utterly unreliable Egyptian troops. 

I should like to remind the House of the difficulties and 
disasters which have arisen from the employment of inadequate 
forces — of British forces too small for the work they had to do 
— in meeting savage and warlike enemies. The Zulu war was 
a case in point. That war was commenced with inadequate 
British forces; defeat and disaster followed, and an immense 



expenditure and immense efforts were required to make up for 
the primary and cardinal error of sending out inadequate forces. 
Nothing contributed so much to the fall of the Government of 
that day as the conduct of the Zulu war. The Boer war of 
1881 was another instance of attempting to do work admitted 
to be difficult with inadequate British forces. Again immense 
expenditure and grave loss of life followed that cardinal error. 
Those two instances alone would give point and force to the 
contention, that one battalion of British infantry with a mass 
of Egyptian troops is an inadequate force for the task set 
before it. 

Not only do those and other examples which I might quote 
point to the danger of attempting considerable operations with 
inadequate forces, but if we should want an illustration against 
the employment of inadequate forces, we find it in past events 
at Suakim itself. No doubt the Government of that day were 
singularly unfortunate in their treatment of the Soudan, and it is 
a matter now hardly denied that many blunders most be laid to 
their charge. One blunder, however, they did not make ; they 
did not attempt to encounter the Soudanese warriors with in- 
adequate forces. The first expedition of General Graham was 
essentially a strong force. Yet we know that very heavy fight- 
ing attended that expedition. The second expedition to Suakim, 
also, I think, under the command of General Graham, waa nearly 
double in size, and accompanied by Indian troops 5 and, more- 
over, the House must bear this in mind, because it brings oat 
the fighting qualities of those Arab troops : that expedition was 
at one time in danger of total overthrow, and but for the 
desperate gallantry of an Indian regiment, inevitable and over- 
whelming disaster must have occurred. That incident is of great 
importance in considering the sort of expedition we have to 
contemplate, and it has a force which the House of Commons 
will admit as an argument against sending any further expedition 
without a strong and adequate force of British troops. Why do 
I urge these points upon the House ? Because I hold that in 
sending one battalion of British infantry to Suakim you are 
flying in the face of all our experience. But I would not dare 
to interrupt the business of the House on that plea alone; 1 


would not venture to set up my opinion against that of the 
Executive Government, if it were not for this very very grave 
fact — I state it as a positive fact, and I implore the House to 
give that fact the weight which I think it deserves — that in 
deciding to send one British battalion to Suakim, her Majesty's 
Government have acted against the advice of responsible and 
high military authorities here. That would appear to be per- 
fectly clear from the cautious answer which the Secretary for 
War gave to my question this afternoon. But if it did not 
appear from that, I state it as a positive fact, and I defy contra- 
diction, that high military authorities at home have disapproved 
of this sending of one battalion of British infantry to Suakim. 
Can anything better illustrate the curiosity of our military 
organisation, that a military expedition can take place against 
the advice and be composed in a manner disapproved of by high 
military authority in command of the Army ? That, however, is 
undoubtedly the fact. And, Sir, this is also the case, which 
the House of Commons will also bear in mind, that if by any 
chance these operations are not attended with success, no re- 
sponsibility whatever can fall upon the high military authorities 
at home. . . . 

I do not hesitate to say that I hate the Soudan. The idea 
to me of risking the life of a single British soldier in that part 
of the world is inexpressibly repugnant. I do not believe that, 
any gain can accrue to this country, no matter how great may be 
the military success, and I am certain that great loss and danger 
may come if this military expedition is not successful. The risk 
which we run is not only unnecessary, but, in the event of 
success, the result is altogether incommensurate with the risk. 

[On the 17th, Lord Randolph Churchill's remarks were 
mainly directed to the general policy, or want of policy, pursued 
by England in relation to Egypt.] 

There is hardly any political question on which I have 
stronger opinions than the question of the expediency of enga- 
ging in British military enterprise in the Soudan, and when I 
recall the language in which I attacked the Government of the 
right hon. gentleman opposite for engaging British military 
forces in the Soudan, I cannot refrain from expressing regret 


and alarm at what appears to be a recommencement of a course 
which L then so strongly denounced, and still at the present 
moment denounce. If there is one thing more than another 
that misled the Government of the right hon. gentleman and 
misled the House of Commons and the country in 1882, and in 
subsequent years, it was that neither the Government nor the 
House nor the public got really true information as to what was 
going on. They received information from persons who were 
interested in pursuing a certain line of policy, and all that was 
likely to divert the House of Commons from that policy was 
sedulously kept back. ' I think we are in the same danger at 
the present moment. 

If Suakim is of Egyptian concern and Egyptian interest, 
and must be held for Egyptian security, undoubtedly the Govern- 
ment is right in advising the Egyptian Government to transfer 
troops for the defence of that place, and undoubtedly the expense 
of that defence must fall on Egypt ; but if the place is not of 
Egyptian importance and Egyptian interest, and if it is not for 
Egyptian security that it should be retained, and if British troops 
are moved there because it is a British interest and for British 
security, and for British objects, the expense ought certainly 
to fall upon the British Exchequer. I ask the House, if the 
Government had announced to the House, as they probably will 
some day, that Egypt will not bear the expense of this expedi- 
tion, and that it will fall upon the British taxpayer, what do 
thev think would have been the effect of that statement upon 
the debate of the 4th instant, and how much do they think the 
position would have been strengthened of those who object to 
the expedition altogether? If England has to pay, and con- 
stitutional precedent had been followed, a vote would have been 
taken before the expedition was sent out, and what would have 
been the chances of such a vote being agreed to by Parliament ? 
1 pass on to notice a remark of an hon. member who said, l We 
must show the Arabs that we are their masters ;' but he forgets 
that we have been for four years trying to bring this truth home 
to the Arabs, and though we have in all conscience killed enough 
of them, it seems we have not yet persuaded the dervishes that 
the British are their masters. It seems to me that that is an 


argument which does not stand the test of experience. One 
word about negotiations. Negotiations are ridiculed by the 
Under-Secretary of State, but I think he is scarcely well 
informed. He confounds the dervishes with the coast tribes, but 
he omitted to tell the House — perhaps he does not know — that 
the dervishes are absolutely dependent on the coast tribes for 
subsistence, and that if the latter were to cease supplying them 
with food the dervishes would have to retire in the course of a 
very short time indeed. The object of negotiating with the 
coast tribes was in the hope of inducing them by material rewards 
and material interests to desist from giving those supplies, so 
that the dervishes would have to retire. If negotiations are to 
be condemned, at any rate let them be condemned on their 
merits, and not be dismissed in an inaccurate manner by say- 
ing it is impossible to enter into negotiations in the presence of 
hostile tribes. The Government have told us to-night they 
know clearly what their object is. They have told us they 
know their own mind. I am delighted to hear it. It is an 
unusual thing in the history of this country for a British Govern- 
ment to know its own mind, and I am glad that this Govern- 
ment is placed in such a fortunate position ; but I am rather 
sorry they have not placed the House of Commons in an equally 
fortunate position by telling us wha*. their mind is. 1 defy 
even the hon. member for Oldham (Mr. Maclean) to say what 
the policy of the Government is with regard to the Soudan, 
or what the result of a battle would be, whether successful or 
the reverse. Nobody knows what is to follow. The object of 
the Government seems to be perfectly narrow and limited. It 
is to send a force to Suakim, fight a battle, and then go away 
(A Voice : ' No.') Did I hear somebody say c No ' ? I will 
engage to say that the Government will not extend their obliga- 
tions by one inch, because if they did they would considerably 
extend the scope of this debate. The object is to raise the siege 
of Suakim, fight a battle, and drive away the dervishes — to what 
distance we are not told, but at any rate they are not to be 
pursued into the Soudan. Have I (turning to Ministers) accu- 
rately stated the policy of the Government? Is that a fair 
question to ask ? I must express my opinion again that that is 


a silly and a stupid policy, an utterly unprofitable policy, one 
that will not assist the pacification of the Soudan nor the 
development of its commerce. It is a policy that will do no 
possible good, unless you consider the decimation of the dervishes 
a possible good. The Government say they are going to Suakim 
to fight a battle, to kill a number of Arabs, and then to go away, 
and for that we] are to impose on the Egyptian Treasury, and 
ultimately, as I contend, on the British Treasury, a very con- 
siderable charge. Against that thriftless and profitless policy I 
gladly avail myself of this further opportunity of recording a 
final protest. 


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